MISSION & VISION
Kits to Heart’s mission is to bring smiles and solidarity to those affected by cancer, one kit at a time. Its vision is to provide adequate material and psychosocial support to help reduce stress and anxiety for a better treatment process.
The cancer journey is often a lonely one—full of anxiety, distress, and uncertainty. Yet, well-intentioned friends and family have no idea what to offer to cancer patients, and hospitals are not able to offer adequate material and psychosocial resources during and after treatments.
Kits to Heart distributes thoughtfully designed, curated cancer care kits to hospitals and cancer centers, as well as ships directly to patients nationwide. Kits to Heart also offers an innovative Art for Cancer Wellness Program to further address the issue of loneliness—as well as to provide tools to heal and cope for patients, caregivers, and oncology healthcare workers.
Sonia Su is the founder and executive director of Kits to Heart. At age 24, Sonia was diagnosed with an aggressive type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. At her lowest point in treatment, Sonia received a sweet care package left on her hospital bed from a former patient. Upon receiving the gift, Sonia made a promise to herself that once well again, she would pay the kindness forward.
Having overcome the grueling treatments, she returned to school, earned her graduate degree from Georgetown University, and founded the nonprofit Kits to Heart. Sonia uses her experiences and interactions with patients and social workers to pack the kits with informational resources and comforting products compatible with various cancer treatments. Just like receiving a care package from a survivor gave her hope and inspiration to pay it forward, we can inspire hope at the most difficult moments of treatments.
Her work has been recognized in local and national media, with plans to reach more families nationwide. Now in remission, Sonia also serves as a First Connection Volunteer for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, providing one-on-one peer support. As an ImmunoAdvocate for the Cancer Research Institute, Sonia was a speaker at its 2021 annual patient summit and featured as part of its 2022 10th Annual Cancer Immunotherapy Month. She is a proud 2020-21 Ulman Foundation GameChanger honoree and Matt Kurtz Kindness Award recipient.
As of January 2023, Kits to Heart has distributed nearly 5,000 care kits to all 50 U.S. states and to nearly 40 locations in Maryland, D.C., Delaware, and Virginia. Their efforts would not be possible without the incredible support of remote and in-person volunteers. Since the summer of 2020, more than 3,400 people and groups have been working to contribute more than 43,000 service hours and counting.
In 2022, Kits to Heart also launched its innovative virtual art therapy program, Art for Cancer Wellness, which offers free, virtual art workshops for patients, caregivers, survivors, and healthcare workers. Participants are guided to explore a theme designed to explore feelings, increase self-expression, foster hope and strengths, identify coping skills, and engage in mindfulness and grounding.
Kits to Heart also provides free, virtual Art Hive sessions open to anyone in our community. These drop-in sessions are guided by one of its art therapists, with the focus of the session on community art-making in a shared, safe space.
Since kicking off the program with a four-week trial program in 2022, Kits to Heart has served more than 130 participants from 25 states. By the end of 2022, they had provided 90 free virtual workshops—that is more than 125 hours!