It’s a G Thing: Eleni’s Pop of Color gives scarves to patients to help them battle cancer

Posted at 3:51 PM, Dec 22, 2016
and last updated 2017-01-03 13:57:15-05

It’s an emotional day for Elizabeth Kassner

“Today I’m a little tired, because they need to give me infusions,” she said.

She’s been battling Lymphoma for three years, here at Monter Cancer Center.

“I’m taking a journey, and at the end of the journey, I’m going to beat cancer and kick its butt,” she smiled.

It’s a journey that sometimes leaves people feeling isolated and alone but Niki Dounis wanted to change that.

“You wear your scarf and you feel that love that’s around you and (realize) that there’s people thinking of you,” Dounis explained.

It’s the moving mission behind, Eleni’s Pop of Color.

“Eleni was a very positive person even in difficult situations she found joy in little things, like drinking ginger ale, that was her favorite thing," she remembered.

She spent her life, saving lives, as a cardiologist but at 35 years young, she was diagnosed with stomach cancer.

“Eleni and I were beyond close, we said we were soul sisters,” Dounis said. “I was there by her side through it all, when she was re-diagnosed, I quit my job on the spot.”

Besides family and friends, one thing seemed to bring Eleni immense joy.

“She also loved when she was in chemotherapy treatment was to wear scarves,” Dounis described. "They just made her so happy and they made her feel like herself.”

Niki’s older sister and best friend passed away two and a half years ago but not before finding a way to give back one last time.

“She said I’m going to talk to the hospital, I want to start something where we can give scarves to people on their first day of treatment,” Dounis remembered of her sister.

Niki has fulfilled her final wish. With the help of a designer, they give a bag to every female patient filled with a one of a kind scarf and touching note.

“It makes you feel good about yourself,” one scarf recipient  described.

"I wear it often, I wear it for luck, I actually wore it to the race track last week,” Valerie Cannata,  scarf recipient, smiled.  “The scarf just reminds me that there are caring people who just want to share love.”

“How do you feel wearing the scarf?" I asked Elizabeth Kassner. "I feel pretty, oh so pretty!" she sang.

Seeing the smiles and lifted spirits are what keeps Niki going every day, proving the best gift is giving.

“How did the program change you?" I asked her. "It makes me happy, it makes me feel connected to her and it makes you realize that we’re all just people just trying to be happy."

Produced by: Kim Pestalozzi