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Mahopac Teen Comforts Putnam Hospital Center's Cancer Patients

Mahopac teen Caitlin Andersen, center, shows one of the comfort bags she delivered to cancer patients to oncology nurse navigator Dianne Toscano, left, and Anita Minella, executive director of the Putnam Hospital Center Foundation.
Mahopac teen Caitlin Andersen, center, shows one of the comfort bags she delivered to cancer patients to oncology nurse navigator Dianne Toscano, left, and Anita Minella, executive director of the Putnam Hospital Center Foundation. Photo Credit: Putnam Hospital Center

CARMEL, N.Y. – Thirteen-year-old Caitlin Andersen of Mahopac was all smiles this week when she delivered some of the 150 comfort bags she and the community made for cancer patients at Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel. 

Andersen, an eighth-grader at Mahopac Middle School, said she was inspired to make the comfort bags after taking part in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Mahopac. 

“I watched the survivors do the survivors’ lap, and it was really cool to see,” she said. “I thought about what I could do to make a difference.” 

Over the past six months, Andersen, a Girl Scout with the Heart of the Hudson Troop 2021 in Mahopac, enlisted the help of other Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, seniors and other community groups in making the comfort bags, which include necessities for patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation such as hand lotion, hand sanitizers, lip balm, soap, tissues, hand-knit hats and puzzles. 

The bags also contain cards handmade by her family and friends, as well as inspirational messages on the outside of the bags. 

Andersen is going for her Girl Scout Silver Award, the second-highest award a Girl Scout can earn. 

“You really spearheaded an entire community effort,” said Anita Minella, executive director of the Putnam Hospital Center Foundation. 

Andersen was happy to see the project through. “I feel great,” she said.

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