Overcoming an illness like cancer is a life changing thing. Grace Callwood was diagnosed with cancer at just 7 years of age but she beat it, and through the experience has gone on to create a foundation that is dedicated to Making Happiness Happen for countless homeless, sick, or foster children.
Grace has been nominated by Craig Kielburger, our judge for the Young Leaders of Tomorrow category as part of six-two’s 35 under 35 initiative. Why? Because at just 13, she is already proving that with a little bit of passion and elbow grease, you can spark a positive change in your community and beyond.
Grace is the founder and chairwoman of the board of advisors for the We Cancerve Movement. Cancerve is a foundation that creates giving opportunities, such as Easter and Christmas hampers, or food drives, that can be supported by the community to bring happiness to homeless, sick and foster children. We Cancerve was founded in 2011 when Grace, then aged seven, was diagnosed with Stage IV Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Grace completed her chemotherapy treatment in April 2014 and thankfully remains cancer free, but through the experience she saw an opportunity: bringing joy to children in need.
Being able to empathise with the struggle of being a young person who faces an uncertain future, Grace decided that she would make a difference in any way she could and spread a little joy in the process. To date, We Cancerve has donated 1,193 Eggstra Special Easter Baskets to homeless, sick and foster children. Under Grace’s leadership, We Cancerve has donated more than $10,000 in cash grants and $25,000 in products to four hospitals in her local Baltimore area.
“Like a true leader, Grace has demonstrated incredible perseverance and courage, raising awareness of the issues that homeless and foster youth face in the community.” – Craig Kielburger
Grace is still young but has accepted that she is able to lend a voice to those who don’t have one, telling ABC News Baltimore that she is learning so much as she strives to be a good role model. “We Cancerve and also beating cancer has really been able to bring me a lot of new experiences. With my organisation, I’ve been able to get used to public speaking and interviews and being able to do events like this and actually be a leader,” she explains.
Cancerve’s motto is: Making Happiness Happen, and it’s safe to say Grace is driving that course as she constantly finds new companies to partner with in the community and brings smiles to many children’s faces. Grace has even been celebrated by Baltimore Governor Larry Hogan for her amazing contributions to the cities youth.