Our classmate and friend

The Jared Box project was started in 2001 by the children at Our Lady of Victory School in State College, Pennsylvania to honor their classmate and friend, Jared. He was a brave little boy who battled cancer with courage and faith that continues to inspire us all.

Jared was diagnosed with an incurable brainstem tumor in 1999. At just 5 years old, he demonstrated faith, wisdom and compassion for others.

The joy of play

Jared maintained his sense of humor and the joys of childhood through play. He carried a backpack full of toys and games to all appointments, and questioned why the other children didn't bring toys to their exam rooms. Jared shared his toys and invited the other children to join him in a game of UNO. Jared's battle ended on November 12, 2000 while listening to his favorite song, "You'll Be In My Heart."

Jared's Mom, Ruth, shares thoughts and memories

"Think of one of your happiest childhood moments. Chances are it involved play - whether it was a favorite vacation, special toy, or time spent with family and friends. A Jared Box is the gift of play to children in the hospital. Play is important, and a life threatening illness shouldn't interfere with the need to play.

"Playing UNO is a favorite memory for my family. We can hear Jared's backward laugh, remember him laughing so hard he wet his pants and how he threatened that anyone who cheated had to clean the toilets! Jared was adamant about playing fair. Unfortunately, Cancer doesn't play fair. However, with your help, the efforts of the Jared Box Project will continue to give ill children the gift of play, well wishes, hope and love."