Cumberland County group provides hope to those fighting cancer

HAMPDEN TWP., Pa. - All it took was a random act of kindness by a stranger to spark a higher calling in Joanna Dennstaedt.

The 33-year-old wife and mother of four was fighting cancer three years ago when she received a package in the mail.

"It started a couple years ago after my diagnosis with melanoma, when a package was sent to me by a random stranger," she says. "Through my treatment, we decided that we could do that for other people."

Dennstaedt and her friends began a group called Radiant Hope, which makes care packages for people fighting cancer.

"We've been doing this for two years," Heather Condridge, one of the group's founders, said. "We started off really small, sending three or four packages a month, now we send between 20 and 25 packages per month."

The group says it will send a care package to anyone who needs one, whether they are here in central Pennsylvania or around the world.

"We build them based on the age of the person or what type of cancer they have, standard things are journals and water bottles, disinfectant, Bible verses, we also put jewelry in and lotion and anything we think that may brighten their day," Condridge said.

People raised funds for Radiant Hope in the last few weeks by doing small things like hosting lemonade stands and completing household chores. On Wednesday night, the group held a celebration and silent auction.

Dennstaedt says she is happy with how many people have rallied around their cause.

"Well, it was a super dark and scary time, so the fact that I got a random package from a random stranger who was thinking about me and praying for me and my family and my four little kids meant a ton to me," Dennstaedt said. "It was those little things that happened every day that got me through my journey."