Sarah, 10, and Katie, 8, paint the words love, hope, believe and peace on small stones which they decorate with colorful designs. The girls and their mother, Debbie Sweet, then deliver the stones to local hospitals.
Debbie Sweet was inspired to help her daughters start the project because of a stone that Debbie’s mother, Meredith Paddock, received when she was diagnosed with skin cancer in April.
At her first appointment with an oncologist in San Diego, Paddock received a stone with the word love painted on it. Debbie said that stone helped to ease her mother’s fear about having cancer.
“She called us after her first appointment,” said Debbie, “and she was so positive and cheery. She just knew that everything was going to be okay.”
Debbie and her daughters wanted to do the same thing for cancer patients in Orange County, so in July, Sarah and Katie started painting stones.
“They love to paint,” Debbie said. “They’re very crafty.”
In early September, the Sweet girls delivered a basket of 108 stones to the Hoag Family Cancer Institute in Newport Beach.
Sarah and Katie were recognized as Youths of the Year at the Aliso Viejo Chamber of Commerce’s second annual Gala and State of the City on September 21. Mayor Carmen Cave praised them for making a difference in the lives of others and giving back to the community.
The Sweet girls recently delivered 50 stones to Mission Women’s Wellness Center in Mission Viejo, and are now painting stones to deliver to Saddleback Memorial Care in Laguna Hills.
Debbie said that her mother, now cancer-free after surgery, is pleased with her granddaughters’ project. “She loves to see that the kids got so inspired to help others because they saw what helped Grandma.”