Tab Bamford, December 13, 2013

In 2004, a nine-year-old girl named Tory accompanied her mother, Shiela, to the hospital while she received treatment for breast cancer. Tory wrote notes of encouragement and drew pictures for her mother that made an enormous impact on Shiela?s daily battle with the disease.

This little girl became the inspiration behind Gems of Hope, a non-profit organization in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, started by Shiela and two friends that works to bring joy to cancer patients in the area through art.

Sadly, Shiela lost her battle with cancer in 2008. But Gems of Hope continues in her memory, distributing more than 400 encouraging cards to local cancer patients each month.

Earlier this week, Tory once again worked with Gems of Hope to create cards and provide some support for those dealing with cancer. This time, Tory brought friends.

Now a freshman at the University of Iowa, Tory Harman is a member of the women?s soccer team. Beth Hammell, one of the friends that founded Gems of Hope with Shiela, visited with the team.

?Tory is a very poised young lady,? said Hammell. ?She suggested that the team work with us during its holiday celebration and it was very well received.?

Gems of Hope visited with the team on Tuesday, Dec. 10, and created cards that will be passed along to patients at hospitals in the Cedar Rapids area.

?One of our volunteers that drives patients to their cancer treatment said they consistently hear from family members that picking out one of our cards is the only thing they look forward during the hours they spend in treatment,? said Hammell.

For more information about the inspiring work being done by Gems of Hope, go to: