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School friends come together to support cancer patients
Hearts for Hospital donations Pelham Medical Center 2 2021 1200x600.jpg
Julia Luz, Olivia Brown, Gianni Rostan-Johnston and Louise Boland

School friends come together to support cancer patients

By Baker Maultsby on July 30, 2021

Julia Luz loved visiting her grandfather, Celso Braga, in Brazil.

When her grandfather passed away in 2020 following a battle with leukemia, she wanted to honor him in a special way.

With the help of her Spartanburg Day School classmates, Julia and her friends raised money to support the fight against cancer.

“At first, I was worried that people wouldn’t be interested,” Julia said. “But my mom told me that everybody knows someone who has had cancer. She felt pretty good that people would care.”

And they did. Julia and her friends – Olivia Brown, Gianni Rostan-Johnston and Louise Boland – received support from neighbors and other school friends. They also raised money by doing chores at home and babysitting.

They named the project Hearts for Hospitals. In mid-July, they presented the Spartanburg Regional Foundation with a gift of $691.

“We are so grateful for the efforts of these young women,” said Shelly Sinclair, senior director of philanthropy with the Foundation. “Their generosity and commitment to people in need is an inspiration, and it serves as a great example of what can happen when people come together to support an important cause.”

The Hearts for Hospitals donation will support the Foundation’s Cancer Special Needs Fund, which provides a wide range of assistance for patients facing financial hardship.

For example, a patient who has had to miss work during harsh chemotherapy treatments may receive help with rent or utility bills. The fund is also used to help cover the cost of medications as well as transportation so that patients can get to and from appointments.

“This contribution will truly make a difference for patients going through a difficult time,” Sinclair said.

According to Julia’s parents, Braga was in the hospital for cancer treatment when he contracted COVID-19.

Julia, Olivia, Gianni and Louise said they plan to continue raising money in the years ahead. They are working on marketing materials, including flyers and a website, and they hope to get additional classmates onboard after school starts.

The girls’ parents were proud.

“I didn’t even know Louise was doing this,” said Lucy Boland. “I’m so impressed.”

“I think they don’t even know how big this is, how important it is,” said Julia’s father, Alex. “It’s a beautiful thing, and I’m very proud.”

To donate to the Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s Cancer Special Needs Fund, visit