No ordinary gift box: Chemo Kits give patients essential tools for fighting cancer

The moment life stopped for Jessica DeCristofaro is also the moment she thought it was over.

She was 28, living in Miami, and not used to slowing down, but fevers, coughs, lymph nodes like tennis balls gave her no choice.

"I was supposed to be going on a sales trip to Vegas the next day," she said. "I [thought] 'I am going to die.'"

Doctors said lymphoma, stage four, was about to kill her.

Treatment started right away and she started writing.

"I started blogging, just so I could create some type of awareness. so other people going through it know what they are going to go through," Jessica explained.

As her hair fell out, well-wishes rolled in.

"When I was going through treatment, everyone sent me flowers," she recalled.

After a year, she was in remission.

"I never thought I would be," she said.

About those flowers, though: What senders didn't know is they are an infection risk to those with cancer. There had to be a better way, she thought.

She came up with the idea for Chemo Kits, filled with things those who haven't lived the experience, may not realize are essential.

"Turbans for when they lose their hair, chapstick for when lips get dry," she said as she picked through one of the kits. "A good luck necklace. It has essential oils in it to help you sleep. Ginger candy, because everyone gets nauseous during chemo. They are little items, but they will definitely boost someone's mood."

For every one of the $30 kits someone buys as a gift, she donates another. She has sent thousands across the country. It comes with a note from her, encouraging patients to keep being brave.

She has also written a book, her guide to, "kicking cancer's booty."

The kits include pens and paper, so patients can use the same survival technique she did: Writing to themselves or others.

"Just to give them some positive strength, and help them know they are not alone," Jessica said.

Three years ago she never imagined she would be the expert.

"You have to be strong for the people around you. You have to be strong for your family."

Image 1 of 4