Sending a Message of Hope, One Bag at a Time

Sending a Message of Hope, One Bag at a Time

While undergoing chemotherapy, Janice Cupp’s friend gifted her a bag full of items to bring comfort and support during treatment. In the words of her daughter, Jennifer Cupp Baxter, “Janice found such comfort and joy in the items and felt so loved by her dear friend. As she sat through treatment week after week, she began to realize that not everyone has the same support system as she did, and even those that did have great support could use some extra hope.” 

Janice’s final chemotherapy treatment coincided with her birthday. “She decided she wanted to gather her friends and put together bags for other patients facing cancer as a way to celebrate,” Jennifer says, “That day we were able to donate 35 bags to the infusion center where she had received treatment for 15 months. Janis was even able to witness another patient receive a bag.”

Janice lost her battle with cancer three months later. She asked her family and friends to continue filling bags and spreading hope. Since its founding in 2016, Chemo Bags of Hope (CBOH) has gifted more than 10,000 bags to both adults and children at 27 infusion centers throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Valley’s Infusion Center.

Filled bags from Chemo Bags of Hope, ready for delivery to patients.

Tracy Ekberg, RN, has worked at Valley for 23 years. She is an oncology staff nurse and charge nurse in Valley’s Infusion Center. Tracy is chair of the Infusion Center’s Unit Based Committee (UBC). The UBC is comprised of staff from throughout the Infusion Center who work together with the unit’s management team to find areas of process improvement. The UBC also coordinates a yearly teambuilding project volunteering in the community. In November 2023, the Infusion Center volunteered with CBOH for a bag filling event.

“We had 12 staff members and 13 children of staff members filling 100 bags for our infusion center and other area facilities. The kids quickly got their competitive spirit in gear, and it was fun to watch our children get so excited to fill bags for our patients,” Tracy recalled.

The opportunity for children to volunteer to fill bags is something Jennifer likes people to know about CBOH: “One of the things we are most proud of is that we provide a place for children to serve those facing cancer. It is important to us that children are involved in helping collect the items, count and sort inventory, fill bags, and deliver them to infusion centers.”

CBOH has supported Valley chemotherapy patients since 2018.  “About a week or so before a patient starts chemo treatments, the Infusion Center schedules the patient and a support person to come in for a ‘chemo teach.’ During this time, the nurse gives the patient a tour of the unit, runs through how long treatment will take, and gives handouts on the medications they will take and possible side effects they may experience. At the end of the visit, the nurse gives the patient their bag,” Tracy shares.

Like many Valley staff members, when Tracy is asked what the best part of her job is, the answer comes down to the people she interacts with: “The best part of my job is the relationships built with my patients. My patients entrust their care to me, and we build bonds that cannot be broken. Plus, I love my fellow team members! We are a hardworking, committed, and compassionate group of caregivers.”

Interested in supporting cancer patients at Valley? Click here to learn more about our new Cancer Center, which includes a new, expanded Infusion Center which will have capacity to serve 40% more infusion patients than our current Infusion Center.

If you are interested in volunteering with CBOH, follow their Facebook page where they announce greatest needs for donations as well as upcoming events. You can also email CBOH at

Interested in volunteering at Valley Medical Center? Click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities.

Pictured at top: Chermaine Wulff, Manager, Infusion Center; Jennifer Cupp Baxter, Chemo Bags of Hope; Tracy Ekberg, RN, Infusion Center

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Valley Medical Center's Marketing and Community Outreach Office