SSM Cardinal Glennon social worker Aleeza Granote works every day to help kids and their parents cope with tough diagnoses in the Bob Costas Cancer Center, but her generosity and love of helping others doesn’t end with her work day.
Granote devotes much of her time outside of work to “Card Care Connection,” a nonprofit she started to send handmade cards and inspirational messages to those diagnosed with cancer. Her work has been noticed throughout the community, and Granote was recently recognized as “Making a Difference” by KSDK anchor Mike Bush.
When she started Card Care Connection in 2011, Granote hoped to work with several groups to get 50 cards total to send to people experiencing cancer. When the first group sent her 34 cards, she knew she was on to something.
Just a year later, the group has given more than 1,400 cards to people with cancer all over the country. Beautiful handmade cards are created by scrapbookers and senior citizens from more than 25 different groups in 11 different states.
“One thing I love about the program is that it is uplifting for the people who are receiving the cards and for the people who make them,” Granote said. “It gives the people making the cards a sense of connection and helps them feel like they’re doing something to make a difference.”
There are no income, age or geographical restrictions on people who can receive the cards. The organization puts particular emphasis on people with limited support systems.
“For many of these people, they are essentially undergoing treatment for this scary disease by themselves,” Granote said. “This is a vulnerable and frightening time for them. We want them to know that there are people out there cheering for them, praying for them and who care about them. They are not alone. Caring and giving people are all around them.”
Since she was a child in Minnesota, Granote has loved helping others. She used to spend time volunteering at the nursing home and cheering people up when her other friends were out playing. Now as an adult, she gets the opportunity to help people through her career and her free time.
In her role at the Costas Center, Granote has emphasized doing special things for children. She arranged a field day at the hospital for patients, after a patient had to miss her school’s field day for treatment. She recently organized a weekend trip to Build-A-Bear for Costas Center patients to gather and have fun with their caregivers outside of the hospital.
“It means a lot to me to be able to help and give back to others,” Granote said. “I’m grateful for the chance to work with the great patients and families here and make their journey a little bit easier.”
For more information about Granote’s organization, visit cardcareconnection.com