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High school helps Virginia Rose Foundation fill 'boxes of love'

Published: May. 23, 2016 at 4:55 PM EDT|Updated: May. 23, 2016 at 10:25 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - The Virginia Rose Foundation received $3,000 from Manchester High School's "Success Program" on Monday during a check presentation.

The foundation was created last year while 4-year-old Virginia Rose Vandermark was battling acute myeloid leukemia.

The Vandermarks noticed a rash on their daughter last spring leading to her diagnosis. After months of treatment at St. Jude and exhausting every medical option, doctors couldn't get rid of her cancer. She died in December.

During her hospital stay, she passed the time by building what she and her parent's called, "boxes full of love."

"She would build these boxes and put stuff into them to send to her friends at clinic," said her dad, Jonathan Vandermark said.

The boxes of love included toys like coloring books, crayons, markers and even gift cards. The items inside were for Virginia's friends to stay busy while they battled their disease. The gift cards were for their parents to use for gas and groceries.

In her Virginia's memory, her parents started the Virginia Rose Foundation, continuing their daughter's effort. They plan to send 'boxes full of love," to 20 families this month and every month.

"To be able to put smiles on their faces and see pictures of them opening the boxes and the mom will reach out and say they were so happy to get the box this month," said Jennifer Vandermark, Virginia's mother.

On Monday, the foundation was presented with an almost $3,000 check and 30 "boxes of love," from Manchester High School's program.

The "Success Program" coordinator and teacher at the school, Kristin Breslin, initiated the idea after she saw what happened to one of her former students, Jonathan's, daughter. Throughout the course of the year, a variety of activities were held at the high school to raise money for what Breslin is calling the #NeverAlone campaign.

The students are sponsoring 20 families and the St. Jude Child Life program and the Child Programs at VCU Medical Center.

The students filled "boxes of love" with arts and crafts supplies, Play-doh, toys, coloring books, stickers, school supplies and gift cards. The sophomore class also put together a large box filled with toys.

"It means a lot to me to watch my students to take on the responsibility like this," Breslin said.

For more information about the Virginia Rose Foundation and to make a donation, visit www.virginiaroseamlfoundation.com.

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