TAMPA, Fla — A 10-year-old Hyde Park girl has spread hope and joy through her prayer beads since her mother, Joy McHugh, was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago.
Sienna McHugh would leave notes and beads with messages in her mother’s purse when she would go to chemo treatments.
Joy was so touched, she told Sienna she should start doing it for other cancer patients.
After that, Joy went into remission and beat cancer. Each week Sienna and Joy went to Tampa General Hospital and other cancer clinics to hand out beads and notes.
“Well they always, always say thank you! Sometimes they start crying,” said Sienna.
Her prayer beads have reached hundreds of hands and hearts. Kindness has become addictive to Sienna.
"I love just giving people a feeling, even if it’s just for a second,” she said.
But right now, it’s Sienna and her mom that need that support. Joy was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in her lymph nodes in August and is now back at Tampa General Hospital fighting for her life.
"I was just devastated for her and her daughter,” said Melanie Stewart, who drives Joy to her chemo treatments.
During their long chats, Stewart learned something interesting about Sienna.
"She's like a huge Dolly Parton fan, which I've never known of a 10-year-old to be a Dolly Parton fan,” she said. “It's so unique!”
In three days, Stewart has raised more than $1,400 dollars to fly Joy and Sienna to Dollywood. The goal is to raise $3,000 to cover the cost of airline tickets, transportation, and accommodations at the Dollywood Resort, which include park tickets and food.
Any amount raised over that will help Joy with medical expenses.
"It would be really amazing,” said Sienna. But she is thinks meeting Dolly would be even better.
"Dolly Parton, please! They would love to meet you. This would be a dream come true,” said Stewart.