COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. -- Decades after losing her husband, Lucy Olson continues to make good on the promise she made to him on his deathbed.
"He wanted to make sure that I kept 'We Do Care' going for him, and he said, 'I love you, and I'll see you in heaven.' And that was it. How do you not keep a promise like that?"
Bob Olson founded the non-profit We Do Care shortly after he was diagnosed with bone cancer. "That's when he started looking into helping kids, because he would go to the doctor. They didn't have like [Helen DeVos Children's Hospital], and these little kids would come into the doctor's office for blood work," explained Lucy. "He loved kids. That was his passion, to take care of kids."
We Do Care aims to bring smiles to the youngest cancer fighters in a variety of different ways. When Bob passed in 1986, Lucy kept her promise and continued the work her husband started.
This year, We Do Care is celebrating 31 years of helping children with cancer.
"A lot of times, they're in pain, they're stuck in the hospital, and they don't have anything to do," said Renee Wade, a We Do Care board member. "We like to do anything that will put a smile on their face. Whether it's bringing toys or games, or, the older teens: laptops, iPads, anything like that to keep them busy and keep them happy."
Various fundraisers are held throughout the year, including the group's largest fundraiser, an annual dance that will be held this year on March 5.
Wade and Olson said We Do Care was able to raise as much as $15,000 during last year's benefit. The number of families helped each year varies, but they estimate the non-profit has impacted hundreds of kids over the years.
"It was Bob's dream, and now it's [Lucy's] dream, and we all share it with her," Wade told FOX 17 News.
Olson, 83, said her granddaughter is expected to take over running the charity one day. Until then, she finds joy in keeping her husband's memory alive in every
"That's what Bob always said, make those kids smile," she said. "I love to go to the hospital. I like to go up there and see the kids. To know that they're smiling.
Even for a little while."
We Do Care's 31st annual benefit and dance will be held at the Lincoln Country Club, 3485 Lake Michigan Dr NW, Grand Rapids, March 5 from 7 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are still available.
To learn more about the event, or We Do Care, click here.
FOX 17 salutes Lucy Olson, our February Pay it Forward Person of the Month!
Know someone who should be featured next month? Nominate them here.