PUEBLO — Paige Flores is about to be a Senior at Centennial High School. She is a cheerleader, a member of the band, and excels in her AP classes.
However, one of the most impressive achievements Flores has made to date is her nonprofit Cuddles 4 Kids. Flores makes blankets and donates them to children all across America who are battling cancer.
"In 2016 my cousin passed away from Neuroblastoma," said Flores. Neuroblastoma is a "very rare" cancer that develops from immature nerve cells. Flores's cousin, Chayenne, was only four years old.
"She had this one pink blanket that she got from somebody, it was just donated to her, and she loved it she carried it with her all the time,“ said Flores, explaining the inspiration for Cuddles 4 Kids.
"I make fleece blankets for kids that have cancer in hopes that it will give them something to cuddle with and a comfort item while they’re going through their treatment.“
Barbara Hougnon, Flores's grandma, helped her make the first ever blanket that Cuddles 4 Kids donated.
"We posted ‘Donations for Fabric’ and we got fabric from as far away as Germany!" said Hougnon. The two began sewing together when Flores was just a little girl.
“It’s made a change for me to bond with her and to become close with her and just, see the good things that she does.”
Plus, Hougnon says she never expected that their common bond of sewing would ever lead to such a great cause.
“To see her give that first blanket to that child in the hospital in Georgia was overwhelming, and breathtaking."
On top of Cuddle 4 Kids, Flores also participates in craft fairs to help raise money for Relay for Life. Since 2010, Flores has donated over $16,000 to the organization, according to her family.
"They’re so strong at such a young age, to push through it, and some of the smiles those kids have on their faces going through and despite all of their treatment? It’s amazing," said Flores about the children she is able to help.
If you want to help Flores continue growing Cuddles 4 Kids, or have a child in mind who could use the extra comfort of a blanket, reach out to Flores on the Cuddles 4 Kids Facebook Page.