SUNNYSIDE For the past 14 years, Carol Carrillo has been on a mission to help others via her non-profit, Life Savers.
She began making Christmas stockings and Easter baskets without expecting any compensation for herself or the materials used for the custom gifts.
Instead, all proceeds generated are donated to the American Cancer Society North Star Lodge and Relay for Life.
“I don’t do this for myself,” Carrillo said.
Last year, she filled orders for 423 custom stockings and estimates between $10,000 and $20,000 is raised each year from the gifts.
“I am fundraising year around,” Carrillo said, noting she has also decorated for themed birthday parties, weddings, bridal and baby showers.
“For baby showers, I make diaper cakes,” Carrillo said.
She also comes up with prizes, place settings and take-home goodies.
It is at Christmas and Easter, however, that she is busiest thanks to those who support her efforts via word-of-mouth and Facebook sales sites.
All the money is going to what she believes is a good cause. “I am helping save one life at a time,” Carrillo said.
“I won’t touch a penny, even though the American Cancer Society asked me to keep money for the materials,” she said.
Although she’s not suffered from cancer, Carrillo understands the value of life.
She has survived 15 heart attacks and two strokes. “I shouldn’t be alive,” she said.
While she is alive, she wants to make others happy.
“My heart just sings,” Carrillo said, explaining the joy others get from her custom-made goodies and knowing cancer patients in the Yakima Valley are helped is what matters most to her.
The money is used to purchase gas cards, helping patients afford to get to and from their appointments for treatment.
The projects keep her busy, too. “It takes up a lot of room in my small home, but my husband is very supportive,” Carrillo said.
She doesn’t stop trying to make people happy with her fundraising efforts, either.
Carrillo believes in simple acts of kindness to boost the spirits of others.
When she is out and about, she likes to bring along goody bags she can give out randomly to people who look as though they need a reason to smile.
“I just want to be remembered as a lady who cared,” Carrillo said.
Donations for the effort to help cancer patients are accepted at Life Savers, P.O. Box 2, Sunnyside, Wash. 98944 or by contacting Carrillo on her Facebook page (Carol Trubl).