ESL Jefferson Award winner brings joy into the lives of children battling cancer

“If you thought of one of the most selfless people you have ever met in your life, you would immediately think of Lynn Stiefler,” said Holly Dutcher, the executive director of the CURE Childhood Cancer Association.

After working as a pediatric oncology nurse for nearly 30 years, Stiefler was inspired by the positive attitude and resilience of the children under her care.

“If you’ve ever treated a child undergoing cancer treatment, that changes you,” said Stiefler. “People often ask ‘why … why did you work with children with cancer?’ The kids with cancer are just so inspiring, and I really loved it. ”

Now that she’s retired, Stiefler has found a new way to give back to children in the fight for their lives.

“Providing a doll that looks like these kids losing their hair, or a stuffed animal that they can hug and take with them to their numerous hospital stays, is a really meaningful way to let families and kids know they’re not the only one, ”said Stiefler.

Since she founded CURE Bears For Hope and Love in 2013, she has sent nearly 3,000 stuffed animals and dolls across the country to children undergoing cancer treatment.

“She’s so giving, she just wants her community to be a better place and do what she feels best, and I really think she’s found her calling,” said Dutcher.

Stiefler doesn’t rely solely on donations to fund her surgery. Each week, she spends hours collecting and exchanging recyclable materials so that more kids can have a personalized teddy bear at one of the most difficult times in their lives.

“We have a number of families who have donated and raised money and donated back, but our biggest thing, believe it or not, is driving dolls and bottles,” she said.

Stiefler is on a mission to make sure kids fighting cancer know that someone in Rochester is thinking of them.

“The bear is just a reminder that they are not alone,” she said.

Read more about the ESL Jefferson Awards here.

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