POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - A Poplar Bluff family came together on Sunday to start making sweet treats for those who wanted to celebrate Valentine’s Day later this week.
The organization is called 'Mack and Kami's Berries' and is now in their second year of making these sweet treats, consisting of chocolate covered strawberries, cake bytes, popcorn and more.
The organization consists of the Spradling family from Poplar Bluff. It is ran by Kelly and Bert along with their two children, Kami and Mack. In addition to them, they have a string of volunteers to help them.
It all started in January of 2018 when Kamryn 'Kami' Spradling, 7, asked her mom about a picture of a girl on a Math-a-thon booklet.
Kami's mother, Kelly Spradling, said her daughter was very upset when she saw a picture of a little girl without any hair.
"She asked me what was wrong with the little girl," Kelly explained. "It's pretty normal now that everyone kind of knows the story of cancer and chemo and what it does to someone's hair. But, I didn't feel qualified to explain that when her own dad is a cancer survivor. So I sent her in to talk with her dad."
Albert 'Bert' Spradling found out he had cancer when he was 21. He had Ewing sarcoma in his left femur.
Ewing sarcoma is a cancerous tumor that grows in the bones or in the tissue around bones. Ewing sarcoma can spread to the lungs, bones and bone marrow.
When his daughter came to talk to him, he then explained to her his life changing experience.
"She knew daddy was bald and wanted to know why the little girl was bald and what St. Jude was all about," Bert stated. "I had to explain that the little girl in the picture had cancer like her daddy did."
After Kami learned about the effects of cancer from her dad, she came in and told her mom that she wanted to do something to help the kids at the St. Jude Children's Hospital.
"She told me that we have to do something to help this little girl and the kids that don't have any hair," Kelly said. "She said they're really sick and we have to raise some money to help them get better so they can grow their hair back."
"It's the right thing to do to get their hair back and to not get them sick anymore," Kami added.
It was that moment when her parents proudly joined her movement of wanting to give back to help the sick children.
“Just part of my heart was just gone to her to let her go help someone,” Bert said. “For her to want to help these kids who have gone through a life changing experience, like cancer, it was unbelievable.”
They then decided to start making chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine's Day to those interested in donating some money for St. Jude.
Kami said strawberries were something she loved as a snack and felt it would make a good sweet treat for others as well.
They got some help starting up last year from an organization called Poplar Bluff Heroes which also raises awareness and funds for St. Jude as well.
"We planned for it just to be a small event in the beginning, make what we can and donate some money to St. Jude," Kelly explained. "Just basically to let Kami learn a lesson here. And the community of Poplar Bluff responded."
They were able to raise and donate $3,625 to donate to St. Jude Children's Hospital last year.
"It felt really great to help sick kids that have cancer," Kami said.
Kelly said Kami is a miracle story and is one that has a very giving heart.
"She was a 27-week preemie at Southeast Hospital in Cape. So she is our little miracle," Kelly stated. "And she does have a huge heart. So to see that heart come alive and want to do something for a great cause like St. Jude, this mom couldn't say no."
The Spradling family aren't the only ones that make the Valentine's Day treats as they have a lot of volunteers at their side that help along the way. This includes other family and friends and local businesses.
"What we find is most of our volunteers come from people that Kami and Mack touch," Kelly said. "We like that. It makes it feel like a family."
This year, Kami thought it would nice to have her younger brother Mack help with and gather some of the ingredients for the sweet treats.
Overall, Both Kelly and Bert say it is great to see their children want to help others.
"It's one of God saving moments for me," Bert explained. "It really, really tears on my heart strings to know that they have that much love for someone they don't even know."
“It is a good way to help out,” Kelly added. “I don’t know if there is a better cause than St. Jude. But more than that, I myself think it’s more important in life to give than to receive. I get more joy out of it and we want to instill that into our children.”
For more information or to order some sweet treats, you can find their website here.