While most 10 year olds are busy attending sleepovers with friends, McDonough resident, Kennedy Morgan was in the hospital. It was during a six-day stay in 2015 that she was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis, a condition that leads to liver inflammation after the body’s immune system turns against its liver cells. During the stay, Kennedy received a care package from her fifth-grade science teacher, Mrs. Cash, which left a lasting impression on her during such a difficult time.
In 2017, Kennedy’s condition worsened, requiring a four-day stay. She remembered how the care package from her teacher changed her sad state of mind to a sunny one. It was then that Kennedy decided that she was going to use this experience to do something positive for others—specifically making and sending care packages to children in situations similar to hers.
By embracing the term “Moonface”—a common side effect of the medication Prednisone, which causes fat deposits to gather around the face creating a rounded appearance—Kennedy found a way to redefine her circumstances.
Her organization, Love to the Moon, creates packages for children, ages 3 to 18, who are diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness. Love to the Moon accepts nominations from the parents and friends of children all over the world, many of whom hear about the organization from online support groups.
Kennedy’s mother, Kristen Morgan, explains that as long as they can get the necessary information to customize a box, they will send it no matter where the child is. Some of the boxes have gone as far as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and even a small village in Romania.
The care packages incorporate the interests and hobbies of each child. Kristen explains, “The boxes are very intentional. We ask specific questions, and then we take all of that information and we customize every item that goes in there—from their favorite candy to their favorite restaurant.”
Kennedy hopes to continue building a community of children and families that understand each other’s struggles. Her mission is to remind kids with chronic illnesses that they are not alone. She is currently working on creating a video to better explain and spread her message and is making plans to travel to nearby states to deliver gifts to children on extended hospital stays.
Love to the Moon accepts donations through PayPal and in the form of items to be included in care packages (restaurant gift cards, washable markers, clear tumblers, stainless steel water bottles, white T-shirts, candy, and socks) to help with the cost of each box, which range in price from $75 to $100.