Video: Holy Cross Students Throw Birthday Parties for Children With Cancer

Student-driven effort blossomed from a professor’s challenge

Watch the video (total time: 02:45) »

Four years ago, after her professor challenged students in the first-year course Moral Choices to change the world, Neha Patel ’10 has done just that.

Patel’s idea was to throw birthday parties for children at Sherry’s House, a lodge for child cancer patients and their families. What started off as a modest idea has brought smiles to countless children battling cancer in Central Massachusetts. Since fall of 2006, an average of two birthday parties have been held each month at Sherry’s House, and more than 100 Holy Cross students have gotten involved in the Cures for Kids organization that Patel founded at the College.

The warmth and fun of the parties offers a respite to children and families alike. That atmosphere was on display at the most recent birthday party held for five-year-old Sean, who is undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The birthday parties have even influenced Patel’s career path. She graduated as a psychology major with a concentration in biological psychology. She was also a student in the College Honors Program and in the health professions program. The recent graduate will attend Tufts School of Medicine in the fall with the hope of becoming a pediatric psychiatrist.

Watch the video (total time: 02:45) »