In the face of the unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, one remarkable woman from South Africa, Candice Kriel, discovered a way to bring a ray of sunshine into the lives of children facing an even greater ordeal - cancer. The story of Happy Bundles is a profound testament to resilience, empathy, and community.
Candice embarked on her Happy Bundles journey in 2020, a year laden with unparalleled trials. South Africa grappled with some of the world's most stringent COVID-19 measures, including 5 pm curfews and strict restrictions on travel, alcohol, and even cigarettes. It was in the midst of these trying times that Candice received her own scary diagnosis: stage 3 breast cancer. As she endured the arduous path of chemotherapy, radiation, and a double mastectomy, she was struck by the poignant realization that many children were enduring similar treatments and battling cancer. It was a heart-wrenching sight.
During her own treatment journey, a friend gave Candice a box of gifts. The gesture not only lifted her spirits but also kindled a flicker of hope, igniting her passion to make a difference for children facing cancer. Bolstered by this act of kindness, Candice took swift action. Just one day after receiving her own gift box, she laid the foundation for Happy Bundles, a non-profit organization committed to delivering baskets filled with toys and gifts to children undergoing cancer treatments. For two years, Happy Bundles sprinkled joy and smiles among children in South Africa.
Then, in March 2022, Candice's family relocated to Newcastle when her husband, Dan, was offered a contract to play for the Seattle Seawolves rugby team. Happy Bundles seamlessly transplanted its headquarters to the United States. The move has been transformative, as they encountered the remarkable generosity and philanthropic spirit of Americans.
Happy Bundles identifies children in need through various channels, including social media, and has forged a valuable partnership with Seattle Children's.. Delivering toys and gifts to these children amid their challenging times brings a glimmer of joy to their lives and offers solace to their families. The organization has also fostered lasting bonds with the families they touch, maintaining regular communication through updates and emails. They aspire to broaden their impact even further, eventually hosting a fundraising gala. At present, they organize small fundraisers and toy drives, with the most significant expense being the global shipment of toys. In the Seattle and Newcastle areas, gifts are personally hand-delivered.
Happy Bundles serves as a poignant reminder that, even in the darkest of times, a small act of kindness can illuminate lives with immeasurable joy. Candice Kriel's unwavering determination and boundless compassion continue to inspire, bringing warmth and happiness to children battling cancer worldwide.
To learn more about Happy Bundles and offer your support, visit their website at www.happybundles.ca.za or connect with them on Instagram @happybundles_.