10-year-old Give 80 Wrapped Care Packages to St. Mary’s Pediatric Nurses

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Five years ago, Nellie de la Cruz, a now 10-year-old Long Beach student at Herrera Elementary, was a reoccurring patient to St. Mary’s pediatric unit. From the young age of six months old until six years old, Nellie was in and out of hospitals with kidney infections.

Long Beach – On June 27, ten-year-olds Nellie de la Cruz and Arlene Ramirez deliver 80 individually wrapped care packages, including handmade bracelets and thank you notes, to the St. Mary nurses in perinatal, labor and delivery, NICU, post-partum, and pediatrics.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Nellie and her friend, Arlene Ramirez, formed a bond that would impact hundreds of lives cross Long Beach. They call themselves The Cancer Fighters.

“We’re just two girls trying to make a difference in our community, even though we are young, we want to show other kids that we can help too,” states Nellie. The duo has raised hundreds of dollars in order to donate dozens of pizzas and other meals to local first responders, including police stations and hospitals.

Five years ago, Nellie de la Cruz, a now 10-year-old Long Beach student at Herrera Elementary, was a reoccurring patient to St. Mary’s pediatric unit. From the young age of six months old until six years old, Nellie was in and out of hospitals with kidney infections.

Now, Nellie returned to St. Mary to deliver 80 individually wrapped care packages, including handmade bracelets and thank you notes, to the St. Mary nurses in perinatal, labor and delivery, NICU, post-partum, and pediatrics.

“The generosity of our community throughout the pandemic has been overwhelming,” shared Carolyn Caldwell, St. Mary Hospital President. “But to have a young girl who has been through so much, return to express her gratitude to our caregivers, just really fills your soul with hope that the future is bright.”

Nellie Lopez, the mother of Nellie de la Cruz, expressed her recollection of the kindness of the staff each time she was in the hospital.

“What I remember most is how nice the nurses, doctors, and the Sisters were to Nellie and our family. To see Nellie spreading kindness to others is really special, and I know part of it is because of the kindness she experienced at the hospital.”