GRIFFITH | The Rainbow Loom bracelets 8-year-old Destiny Magana creates are woven with love.
Her uncle Armando "Dito" Magana was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that primarily affects children and adolescents, at age 15. He died two years later.
The impact on Destiny was powerful.
"Uncle Dito was so wonderful," Destiny said. "Even though he was sick and exhausted most of the time, he would pick me up from school every day. I just want him to know I will never forget him."
To honor her uncle's legacy, she started making Rainbow Loom bracelets and selling them to family and friends to buy Valentine's Day gifts for cancer patients at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago.
Destiny, a third-grader at Beiriger Elementary School in Griffith, remembered how happy her uncle was when he received gifts from strangers. She said she thinks many of the patients are forgotten on Valentine's Day and some of the other holidays.
"He would be so happy, like a little kid," Destiny said. "I remember his smile, and when I made him something, he would make me feel special."
So she began her bracelet crusade in September. In November, she helped her grandmother, Diana Magana, make and sell pumpkin rolls for cancer patients.
"We sold the first batch, and she wouldn't even let me take a dime to purchase more ingredients," Diana Magana said.
"I tried to explain that we needed to take a little to make more money and she wasn't having it. Her guilt trip worked, and I ended up paying for everything."
Destiny, with help from her grandmother, has made more than $600 so far and will begin shopping for patients next week. She plans on choosing items for kids of all ages.
"My aunt and uncle sent me $150 from Texas for bracelets," Destiny said. "I love doing this, and I just feel it's my destiny."