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Because Char Smiled: Teen makes paper flowers to bring smiles to cancer patients

A Western New York teen is going above and beyond to bring smiles to cancer patients at Roswell Park Institute and her effort is amazing.

Sarah LoCurto, a junior at Niagara Wheatfield High School, started “Because Char Smiled,” a project that she created to make paper flowers for those in need of a smile.

“The project began when my mom came home from Roswell Park Cancer Institute confused and upset that flowers meant for her friend Char weren’t permitted in Char’s room (fresh flowers pose a health risk to certain patients.) My mom, already sad and distraught over Char’s condition, felt bad about having to go in empty handed.”

That night LoCurto was kept awake thinking about what had happened.

“I knew my mom couldn’t be the only person to experience this. That others must have been put in the same situation. I wondered if there was a solution, a different way to give patients a sense of comfort and hope-something as bright and cheerful as a flower bouquet. Then the idea of paper flowers struck. I told my mom what I wanted to do and though she didn’t realize the magnitude of my idea, ‘Because Char Smile’ began.”

For the past six months LoCurto made flowers on her own (with some help from mom) and delivered hundreds of flowers to Roswell in October. Melissa Holmes at WGRZ then did a story about her efforts and mentioned the idea of having the community join her cause to keep the garden growing. Girl Scouts, school classes, clubs, church groups, and individuals began reaching out to lend LoCurto a hand.

“The outpouring of support has been wonderful,” she said.

Thanks to the support of the community, just yesterday LoCurto and her team made a second delivery donating hundreds more flowers for well-deserving patients at Roswell.

“Seeing the impact that this project created – the happiness being spread – is truly surreal. No feeling compares to that of giving someone a bit of hope, or a little smile. When anyone comments on my BCS Facebook page, especially a patient, it reinforces the very reason I started this project. The private messages, cards, notes, comments received, all of that make me realize that we really are spreading kindness, comfort and hope to others – one flower at a time.”

LoCurto says she’s humbled and proud to be part of such a wonderful community, full of people willing to help.

“The experiences had and the people I’ve met through this project are all amazing, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

For more information on Because Char Smiled, visit

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