Holiday cards spread awareness, joy

Proceeds benefit Children’s Hospital


For the past 20-plus years, patients from the Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders have created designs for holiday cards. Once the winning designs are selected, cards are then sold to help raise money for the center and purchase items such as wigs and medical bracelets for patients.

Among the 10 artists selected out of 91 entries this year were 6-year-old Bella Webster from Highlands Ranch and 11-year-old Liberty Tyus of Littleton.

Bella, a first-grader at Cherry Hills Christian School, has leukemia and a love of dolphins. She plans to take a trip to swim with one once her treatment is done. Liberty, meanwhile, is a sixth-grade honor student at Goddard Middle School. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoma in second grade, and after two years of chemotherapy treatments she is now in full remission, and as opposed to dolphins now keeps busy swimming with Piranhas — the local club swim team, that is.

Both girls received $250 cash and a special plaque from the Holiday Card Project for their winning designs, but for Liberty what was even more important was the knowledge she was helping and educating others.

“The money goes to research,” Liberty said. “And if you see someone with one of these cards that we made, most people are going to ask, ‘Where did you get it?’ It really helps spread awareness about cancer and what it does to kids.”

It is the second year in a row Liberty has won the contest and the budding artist plans on entering again next year.

“It’s an amazing feeling for me that people are seeing and buying my cards,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to sell my artwork. I used to have a dream that I wanted to open up a store but I didn’t get around to it ... probably because I was 3.”

Liberty’s design — which was inspired by the fact that Christmas has always been something to look forward to, especially while she was in chemotherapy — shows a hilly scene with a girl at one end, a home at the other, and wintry features, including a snowman, in between. The message on the card is: “Life is a journey. It has ups and downs. But you can always count on Christmas being one of the ups.”

Bella’s card features a picture of a colorful wreath with the timeless “Happy Holidays” message written above the wreath.

“It is a nice way to recognize kids and their talents,” said Connie Brakken-Smith, project co-chair for the second straight year. “It’s also a way for them to do something creative that makes them feel like a normal kid without an illness and for those kids that get selected to be celebrated. Some of the art is pretty amazing too.”

To purchase holiday cards or a decorated white chocolate pretzel tin, visit, call 720-777-6286 or stop by the hospital gift shop at 13123 E. 16th Ave. in Aurora. They will also be available at the Children’s Hospital South Campus at Plaza Drive and Lucent Boulevard in Highlands Ranch after Dec. 4.

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