Mom and daughter bring holiday joy to hospice patients, one card at a time

"Fun" is how 7-year-old Sophia Ernest and her mom Stephanie Canard describe making homemade holiday cards for patients at Suncoast Hospice at St. Pete.

"It's like, I feel like I can't even explain it. It's just overwhelming," said Stephanie. "It's like the best feeling I've ever had."  

They started making the cards last year after her boyfriend's aunt had stage-four ovarian cancer and had to go into hospice.

"Once she passed away in September, I decided to think of something that I can do to give back to them because they've helped her so much," explained Stephanie.

This is the second year that the mom and daughter have made the cards.

"I just hope it brings a smile to their face to let them know that someone out there is thinking of them and praying for them, for what they're going through," continued Stephanie.  

Meghan Wharton, the volunteer coordinator at Suncoast Hospice for two years, says the cards are a welcome surprise for the patients.

"We have a lot of patients who are in facilities that are very isolated and especially now with going through the COVID pandemic, people are more isolated than ever. So just to get a handmade card is just can bring them so much joy."

Stephanie hopes others pick up on her message about caring for others.

"My goal is to let them know if it doesn't always have to be about money. All it takes is one homemade card so that somebody know that you took time out of your day to think about them."

The pair has more than 300 cards to hand out this year.

"This is awesome," Stephanie added. "I love this. I want to do this for as long as I'm able to. And then once I pass, I hope she carries on the tradition."