By Denise Koch

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — M&T Bank Stadium welcomed fans back for the first-time this season — about 4,000 people Sunday for the Steelers game.

But if we weren’t in a pandemic, sitting among the sold out crowd would be fans being honors by the Ravens for their work serving our community in many different way.

The program, presented by M&T Bank, is called ‘”Honor Rows.”

One local teenager’s non-profit has been honored and when you meet Grace Collwood, you’ll know why. She started We Cancerve when she was only seven years old and fighting cancer herself.

“When I was 7 years old, I was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and it was very crazy for me,” Grace told WJZ’s Denise Koch. “I had no idea what cancer was or what it meant until I had it. I just knew that the healing experience was very painful.”

While undergoing treatment, Grace’s mom told her about another family going through difficulty.

“I was told about a family that had lost their home in a fire and they had two little girls and so all I could think about was how I related to those two little girls and they had just entered homelessness and I had just entered sickness,” Grace said.

So Grace donated her clothing to those girls and that’s when, at 7, she got the idea to start the We Cancerve movement. It’s mission: help children who find themselves homeless or in the foster care system.

Denise Koch: What was your first project?

Grace: It was a lemonade stand in my driveway on a Saturday. Me and a few friends, who were also board members, we raised 600 dollars!

Denise: That’s a lot of lemonade!

Grace is now 16 and We Cancerve has helped nearly 20,000 children from Africa to Ohio. She and We Cancerve have been awarded more than $110,000 to use for their projects.

“We’ve been blessed immensely with how many people have been motivated to give to our organization,” Grace said.

And that includes the Ravens who invited Grace and the We Cancerve team to a game, gave them Ravens gear and honored them on the field.

“We love the program,” said Keenan Harrell with Ravens community relations. “It’s very inspiring and it’s just reflective of how many people in Maryland, how many young people, older people across the board care about their communities.

This summer a 9-year-old We Cancerve board member got the idea to create a garden at the homeless shelter, Anna’s House. And, there it is!

The all-youth board of advisors, 8 to 18, have given away $14,000 in cash grants and more than $300,000 in in-kind donations to organizations that serve homeless and foster children.

Grace wants We Cancerve to, indeed, become a movement among young people to give serve.

Now a sophomore at Edgewood High School, she’s hoping to major in political science at Howard University.

Grace completed her chemotherapy in 2014 and in 2019 she was declared cured!

 

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