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Jack London Elementary School Students Send Messages to Patients Fighting Cancer


This month, a 3rd grade class of 23 students at Jack London Elementary School in northwest Santa Rosa wrote inspirational messages and sketched drawings on medication bags that are being given to patients receiving treatment at St. Joseph Health’s Regional Cancer Center at 121 Sotoyome Street.

The project, which took place during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, was initiated by teacher Katie Dolan and her students in an effort to brighten the spirits of individuals fighting cancer. According to Dolan, students may encounter or have experienced family or friends fighting cancer and they wanted to do something special to make a difference.

Sharon Willis Doughty, Care Management Coordinator and Certified Patient Navigator at St. Joseph Health, Regional Cancer Care, helped coordinate the activity and suggested the students decorate the medication bags. According to Willis Doughty, the Girl Scouts recently created cards for their office and she has witnessed firsthand the gratitude that comes from receiving these sincere messages of hope. A breast cancer survivor herself, Willis Doughty visited Jack London Elementary School on October 19 to thank the students for taking the time to care for others. She explained to them why it will make a difference, spoke to them about the power of kindness, and shared her experience as a survivor.

“I understand what patients fighting cancer go through and I think it is important for kids to know that with surgeries, chemotherapy and other treatments, people can and do get better,” she said.

According to Willis Doughty, these acts of kindness tend to have a ripple effect. They encourage others to offer support and remind patients of the healing nature of drawing and artwork. St. Joseph Health offers Art From The Heart, a free, ongoing art therapy class for community members who have had cancer or are receiving treatments. Classes are offered on the first Wednesday of the month, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Finley Center. St. Joseph Health has four cancer wellness programs each week in Santa Rosa and Petaluma that are available at no cost to all patients in our community. For more information, visit and click on Support Services.

Caption: Jack London Elementary School Students write inspirational words and drawings on medication bags to inspire patients undergoing cancer treatment at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

About Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital

Located approximately 50 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Santa Rosa Memorial is a state-of-the-art, 338-bed acute care hospital. As the designated Level II Regional Trauma Center for Sonoma, Mendocino, Napa and Lake Counties, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital provides a wide range of specialty services including critical care, cardiovascular care, stroke care, women’s and children’s services, cancer care and orthopedics. The hospital is home to the Norma & Evert Person Heart & Vascular Institute and the UCSF Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery.

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