August 18, 2012
I Care: Madison Brings Cheer to Cancer Patients

Wearing hot pink and a smile, Madison Zenker, 13, confidently walks into the pediatric infusion center at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center carrying bags of colorful pillowcases, each one as bright as she is. She helps cancer patient, Bryan Garcia, 11, choose one with dogs on it for his bedroom.
Madison made a carnival-themed pillowcase for her Great Aunt, Willie Garrett, who died from ovarian cancer in 2009. Garrett loved it and brought it to all her cancer treatments and hospital stays. This inspired Madison, at age 10, to found Cases for Cheer, a non-profit that gifts handmade pillowcases to cancer patients.
"I feel so accomplished," Madison says. "When I see their smiles, I feel so amazing. I know I can't cure cancer but I can make people with cancer happy."

At only 13-years-old Madison has learned a lesson that many adults haven't: that giving of oneself not only helps the other person but it makes your own life happier too. She's confident and excited about her future. "I can't wait to grow up doing this my whole life and watching it grow," she said. Madison active in leadership roles in her school and says that Cases for Cheer has made her a more caring person with a better work ethic.
"She's really blossomed personally seeing people fighting for their lives," said her mother, Jennifer Zenker. Not only that but Madison is not afraid of cancer herself, because the mystery of the disease has been taken out of it.

Madison's creation is now incorporated as officially a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. She has an army of sewing enthusiasts who sew pillowcases to add to her cause. In the past three years they have delivered about 2000 pillowcases to cancer units. To find out how you can get involved visit www.casesforcheer.org.

If you know an exceptional volunteer who should be profiled in the I Care column please email acruz@sacbee.com.

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.