MASSENA — A group that’s been distributing comfort bags to patients since 2014 has made their latest deliveries.

Since they began the effort, the Northern New York Gives Back group has created comfort bags that have been distributed to cancer, dialysis, ALS and cystic fibrosis patients, military members, children in the hospital and foster care, and the elderly. The bags contain a variety of items such as toiletries, fleece socks, fleece blankets and crossword puzzles.

This time, they started in Massena and then headed to Canton-Potsdam Hospital’s Center for Cancer Care, Renewal House in Canton and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center’s Richard E. Winter Cancer Center.

The group started in 2014 when Heather Young’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer.

“We have enjoyed bringing joy and smiles to those in need ever since,” Ms. Young said.

Stephanie Gebo was the first recipient when the group started distributing comfort bags to dialysis patients.

“She wanted to jump aboard and be a part of it and has been ever since,” she said.

Ms. Young said the latest distribution was in honor of Missy King, Team Bentley, Courtney Hollenbeck and Jim Walker.

“We had a productive give-back day,” she said, noting that she and Ms. Gebo, her “co-pilot” were able to “bless people undergoing hard times. We were able to hand them to a few warriors, which is what fills our heart.”

Creating the comfort bags is a group effort, she said.

“We couldn’t have done this without the sponsors’ help and support. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. A special thank you to Bill Sova for helping put all these bags together,” Ms. Young said.

The sponsors included Donaldson-Seymour Funeral Home, Chad Green and Cathy Green, North Country Adult Medicine, Dr. Neil J. Cichetti, Dr. Joanne Wilson Cichetti, Neil Karlberg, Mary Young, Mary Davey, Kari Evans Davey, Allison Kormanyos, Amanda Denny, Brenda Harris, Spuds Run, April Francis, Joanne Emlaw, Paula Boyle, Richard Curry, Mike Young and Holly Grant, Elaine Kesner, Kristan Laramay, Cheryl LaBarge, Anthony VanGuilder, Maria Mulcare, Sue Stubbs , Joanne Stiles, Stacy Bracy, and Sean and Doug Hamilton.

“A special thank you to Stephanie Gebo for collecting 20 bags herself. She always helps fill the bags with items of whatever awareness we are doing,” Ms. Young said.

Anyone who would like to join the Northern NY Gives Back Facebook group and sponsor one or more of the giving back projects can visit

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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