West Virginia prisoners surprised a 6-year-old girl suffering from leukemia with a care package, which contained among other goodies a check for $1,029.30.
The patient’s mother, Amy Chandler of Louisa, Ky., was shocked when she learned that the package for her daughter Mailyn was from inmates from the Mount Olive Correctional Complex, a maximum-security state prison, CBS News reported.
A picture of the prisoners surrounding a fundraising table was also given to the mother, who was able to see the faces of those who had contributed to the gift.
“I didn’t know what to think,” Chandler shared with CBS. She had spent the last 18 months at the Cabell Huntington Hospital, by her daughter’s bedside. “They went to a lot of trouble to do this.”
Mailyn has suffered from leukemia since she was 2 years old, undergoing chemotherapy sessions for more than two years. The search for a bone marrow donor has been unsuccessful despite organized bone marrow drives.
Inadequate funds also limited their search for a match, as they were only able to process 400 tests even though more than 1,500 were tested last fall after Mailyn relapsed.
Learning about Mailyn’s story on television, prisoners at the Complex decided to do something about it.
After talking to substance abuse counselor Cecilia Matheney, they began to fundraise for the Chandler family. They created posters, set up tables and asked their fellow inmates to donate some of their prison wages, which only amounted to less than $80 a month.
“They sat outside for two days in the rain and gathered all these funds from the inmates on the yard,” Matheney told the station. “There are some who donated their whole payday, which for some of them might have only been $25. But still.”
“Part of their recovery and living in this unit is giving back ... This was something really big and great.”
The prisoners also decorated the care package as well. The box was painted pink and lined with construction paper. Crayons, colored pencils, and a stuffed rabbit also filled the box along with the check.
“For every inmate, the donation was a big sacrifice,” the counselor shared.
One of the mothers of the inmates who helped create the box told Chandler that though her son had done a lot of bad things in his life, he wanted to do something to give back, to change his life.
As of now, doctors have notified Chandler that Mailyn is too sick for a transplant. She continues chemotherapy in the meantime.
“My faith [is] in God. Doctors are only human,” Chandler noted.