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Little girl, big heart

Amanda Holt MillerWestern Garfield County Staff
Post Independent Photo/Kara K. Pearson
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Torrey Sanson made a big donation to the Valley View Cancer Center.The 9-year-old girl from Carbondale saved $150 doing extra chores around the house and shoveling neighbors’ driveways with her older brother Tobin. Then she wrote a check and presented it to the nurses who helped her mother and her family through recent hard times.”It’s pretty unusual for us to get a gift like that from a child,” said Terry Nightingale, a nurse practitioner at the Valley View Cancer Center. “It’s just very touching that she would want to do something for us.”Nightingale said Torrey’s thank-you card and her check are still at the reception area in the cancer center.”We kept it up here so we could show people,” Nightingale said. “It’s so sweet. She’s a really neat little girl.”Torrey is a quiet girl with dark hair. She smiles shyly and looks to her parents and older brother in order to avoid the spotlight. “She’s shy about it,” said Torrey’s mother, Karen. “But she initiated this on her own. I think she saw a sign in the lobby that mentioned donations.”Torrey put money from chores in her bank account and saved until she had enough to make the donation on April 7.”I saw them help my mommy and us, and I wanted to help them,” Torrey said.Torrey’s mother, Karen, was diagnosed with breast cancer in October. Torrey learned a lot about the disease and said she wants to keep learning about it. One of the first things and one of the hardest things to learn was how to say the name of her mother’s cancer. “Infiltrating ductile carcinoma,” Torrey said quickly, smiling proudly.”It’s the most common kind of breast cancer,” said Karen, 44. “But it’s not the most common word to learn how to say.”Torrey keeps a chart on the dry-erase board in her bedroom to keep track of how much she’s saved.”She just came up with this all on her own, out of the blue,” said Lynn, Torrey’s dad.Turning to Torrey, he said, “I went into your room and looked at your chart. I asked and you looked up and said, ‘Oh I want to raise money for the cancer center.'””It’s really touching. Both of these kids (Torrey and Tobin) are very generous,” said Lynn.Torrey was working on three fund-raising efforts at once. She wanted to raise $150 for the cancer center, $100 for her family trip to Maui and $100 to buy an American Girl doll on her “I’m 10″ trip to Chicago with her mom this September.Karen took Tobin to San Francisco when he turned 10. Torrey wanted to go to the American Girl store in New York or the store in Chicago for her trip. She turns 10 on June 13. They chose Chicago because it’s closer.”She always asked me for extra chores,” Karen said.Torrey did everything she could to raise money. She did the laundry, cleaned the house and even washed the walls.”You use this spongy thing,” Torrey said, explaining how she cleaned the walls. “You can’t do it on polished walls, though.”Her favorite chore was washing the car. Her least favorite was cleaning out her dad’s drawers at home and at work. Lynn is the headmaster at Alpine Christian Academy, where Torrey and Tobin go to school.”His drawers are really messy. Really messy.” Torrey said.Each chore paid $5. Torrey started saving in January. So, counting on her fingers, she said she raised the money in four months.Karen, who is a nurse at Valley View Hospital, said she thinks the worst of her cancer is behind her and her family. She’s gone through chemotherapy and two major surgeries.”The big part is over. But I don’t think it’s ever really over,” she said.Karen said she and her family was constantly impressed by the work at the cancer center and all that the nurses did for her.”We’re truly blessed to have a facility like that here,” Lynn said.


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