PUEBLO — Paige Flores is about to become 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 gives them to children across America who are battling cancer.
“In 2016, my cousin passed away from neuroblastoma,” says Flores. Neuroblastoma is a “very rare” cancer that develops from immature nerve cells. Flores’ cousin, Chayenne, was only four years old.
“She had this one pink blanket that someone gave her, it was just donated to her, and she loved that she carried it with her all the time,” said Flores, explaining the inspiration for Cuddles 4 Kids.
“I make fleece blankets for children who have cancer in the hopes that it will give them something to cuddle with and a comfort item during their treatment.”
Flores poses with her Youth Fundraiser Trophy from the American Cancer Society Relay for Life
Barbara Hougnon, Flores’ grandmother, helped her make the very first blanket donated by Cuddles 4 Kids.
“We posted ‘Donations for Dust’ and we got dust from Germany!” said Hougnon. The two started sewing together when Flores was just a little girl.
“It’s made a change for me to bond with her and bond with her and see the good things she does.”
Plus, Hougnon says she never expected their common bond of sewing would ever lead to such a big goal.
“Watching her give that first blanket to that kid in the hospital in Georgia was overwhelming and breathtaking.”
In addition to Cuddle 4 Kids, Flores also participates in craft fairs to raise money for Relay for Life. According to her family, Flores has donated more than $16,000 to the organization since 2010.
“They’re so strong at such a young age to get through it, and some of the smiles that those kids have on their faces and despite all their treatments? It’s amazing,” Flores said of the kids she can help.
If you would like to help Flores grow Cuddles 4 Kids, or have a child in mind that could use the extra comfort of a blanket, please contact Flores on the Cuddles 4 Kids Facebook page.