The holiday season can be a hard time for Megan Kucera.
It’s those kinds of special occasions that can remind the David City resident of her late mother, Rachelle "Shelly" Kucera. In her memory, Kucera and the rest of her family have started Feathers from Shelly, an annual project that aims to help brighten the days of cancer patients around Christmas.
“When you do go through something that’s so bad, you have to find the good in it,” Kucera said. “And this is what we found to be the good.”
In 2016, Shelly passed away when she was 50 from lung cancer. She was a graduate of Aquinas Catholic High School and operated her own business cleaning homes and businesses in David City. Every year, Feathers from Shelly raises money from the crowdfunding website Gofundme to help support local cancer patients in her memory. In the past, the project has helped patients in the form of monetary checks and gift cards.
“Every year we just picked families that we knew were struggling with cancer and raised money to give back, something that would help with the struggles that they go through,” Kucera said about Feathers from Shelly.
This year, Kucera, 31, said she decided to give gift baskets to the patients. They will include items like hand sanitizer, wet wipes, hard candies, gingerbread cookies, notepads, scarfs, hats, books, lotion, lip balm and gift cards.
“We just wanted to do something more for people,” Kucera said.
So far, the project this year has raised $1,670 from 38 people on Gofundme since Oct. 10. In its first year, organizers raised $1,670 for the project and $980 in it’s second.
Kucera said the project aims to give out about 20 baskets to patients at the Nebraska Hematology-Oncology in Lincoln right before Christmas. She said it was the same place her mother sought treatment.
“It warms our hearts at the continued selfless giving that happens at our practice on a daily basis,” Amy King, administrator at Nebraska Hematology-Oncology, wrote to The Banner-Press in an email about Feathers from Shelly. “So many are touched by cancer and patient families continue to connect with current staff and patients by their acts of kindness. We are all so very blessed to be able to care for these families.”
Anybody interested in donating to Feathers from Shelly is encouraged to visit www.gofundme.com/featherfromshellygiftbags.
Kucera said her mom was a caring person and would give people the best gifts. She remembers her wrapping them beautifully and wishes to continue her legacy of giving to others.
“It’s important to me because it helps me remember my Mom,” Kucera said. “As far as our family, we think it is very important to do.”
Eric Schucht is a reporter for the Banner-Press. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.