CLEARWATER, Fla. - Anne Coletti will never forget the moment doctor’s diagnosed her with stage three breast cancer.
"I can remember it like a movie playing in my head,” Coletti explained. “I got the phone call and I fell to my knees."
Coletti underwent a mastectomy, radiation and more than a dozen rounds of chemotherapy.
“When I was diagnosed, I never asked why,” Coletti said. “I just knew I had something to do.”
After going through rigorous treatment, Coletti found her purpose.
She began collecting items for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy at BayCare’s Morton Plant Hospital and placing them in drawstring bags. She calls them “Survivor Sacks.”
"I wanted to take the opportunity to give back and help with that sense of anxiousness," Coletti explained.
The sacks are stuffed with socks, a journal, an encouraging letter of hope and other personal care items.
"The hospital provides a blanket but it just one of those plain ones,” Coletti said. “So, I like to put fun blankets in to kind of keep the patient’s mind off of what's going on."
Morton Plant Administrator Deb Hannah said the bags are a comfort to the patients.
"To know that there is someone out there who cares about them and what they are going through and how they are feeling, just a little something to make their day means so much to these patients," Hannah said.
Coletti delivered more than 200 sacks over the past two years.
"I want them to feel assured that they're loved and supported by someone and if that someone is me, I'm grateful for that," Coletti explained.
Coletti collects donations from family and friends to pay for the “Survivor Sacks.”