Geneseo Girl Scouts have earned the Bronze Award, the highest award Girl Scouts in grades four and five can achieve.

Abigail Downing, Alivea Hull, Aubree James, Bella Nightingale, Irelyn Thorndyke, Jenna Peterson, Lilah Jacobs, Lilly Stone, Lyla Tennant, McKenna Hooks, Natalie Versluys, and Sadie Appel of Troop 4446 built special bags for patients undergoing chemotherapy.

The year before beginning their project, a former troop leader and another mother of a troop member were both treated for breast cancer. After seeing everything their loved ones went through, the girls decided they wanted to help other people with cancer.

In preparation for their project, the girls invited Gilda’s Club to a meeting to talk to them about the effects of cancer treatments, helping spark the idea to build bags with supplies for people undergoing treatment.

The bags include hand sanitizer, tissues, chapstick, a variety of hard candies, a fidget cube, a card with nutrition information, and a positivity tin. Each positivity tin was filled with encouraging quotes handwritten by the girls.

All items gathered were donated by the girls and their families.

“When we dropped the bags off at the Cancer Center, it was so nice t o see how excited they were. It made me happy that our hard work will bring joy to the patients,” says Bella Nightingale.

Overall, 52 lined and zippered cosmetic-sized bags were filled with the collected goods. Fifty bags were delivered to the Cancer Center at UnityPoint Health- Trinity Cancer Center in Moline, and two bags were given to family friends diagnosed with cancer during the project.

The project took the girls one year and 10 months to complete but has made a major impact for those in chemotherapy in the Quad Cities community.

“This project made my whole body fill with happiness,” says Sadie Appel. “I wish I could see them giving the bags, but I could tell by the looks on the workers’ faces how much it meant to them. I loved this project, and not just the ending result was fun, but sewing the bags and stuffing them was just as fun.”

PHOTO: Lilly Stone, Lilah Jacobs, Aubree James, McKenna Hooks, Jenna Peterson, and Irelyn Thorndyke form an assembly line to build the bags.