'Letters of Love': Elementary students offer encouragement to those undergoing cancer treatment

At Laketown Elementary School in Waconia, Mrs. Kruger’s fifth graders are learning lessons far beyond their years.

"They're kids like you going through normal life and all of a sudden something happens,” said Jill Kruger.

They’re listening to stories about kids with cancer, some who are going through treatment like Kruger’s family friend Izzy.

“She’s out there fighting this really hard fight and she’s not even two yet,” Kruger said.

Another cancer story is that of Zach Sobiech, who wrote the song “Clouds” as he bravely battled osteosarcoma.

“He died in 2014, but this was kind of his big platform,” Kruger said. “How can I be present and how can I help other people?”

Using Izzy and Zach as their inspiration, the class is joining a nationwide letter-writing campaign called, “Letters of Love.” In it, students write letters of encouragement to kids they don’t know who are going through cancer treatment.

“And you get hurt and you’re like ow, you’re crying and stuff and it hurts for like two days and its gone and it’s a scab and it doesn’t hurt anymore,” said Ethan, a student. “Well, they’re like fighting and it hurts for like a couple years or so.”

"Stay positive because you're going to get through everything,” said Audry, another student, in a letter. “Nothing can stop you and just be you. Hope you and your family can get through everything. Happy holidays. Remember you are amazing and be brave."

"The idea of giving letters to make the child light up when receiving those fits really well with what we're trying to do as a as a company,” said Maia Haag, the creator of Letters of Love.

Haag helped create the letters of love campaign last year. Her local children’s book company, “I See Me,” partnered with the Children’s Cancer Research Fund to collect the letters and then distribute them over the holidays.

"You write a letter on that page we even provide a sample letter so you can see what others have written,” Haag said. “And you click submit it couldn't be easier. It actually is the best way to do it because if a letter passes through too many hands on the way to child who is going through cancer treatment, there's a hygiene issue."

Back in Mrs. Kruger’s class, fifth graders were deep in thought finding just the right thing to say.

“Remember, you guys are amazing and always think positive,” said Ethan.

The students even imagined who will open their letters. It’s a lesson in kindness that will stick with them far beyond these years.

"We can teach you math and we can teach you science and we can teach you social studies but really it's about teaching you to be a better person,” Kruger said. “That we go out into the world and spread good."

To support a child or to create your own Letters of Love, visit the "I See Me" website.