Nurse makes “cancer masks” to give kids confidence. But when you see what goes into them your heart will melt.

Jennifer Cook is a radiation therapist at Greenville Health System’s Cancer Institute. She’s a wonderful woman who cares deeply about her patients, many of whom are children.  And what she’s doing for them is astounding.

During radiation treatment, in order to protect unaffected parts of the brain, nurses must keep patients’ heads perfectly still as to not get off line with the radiation beams. The best way to do this is by fastening a white, mesh mask on patients’ faces during treatment.

But for those children, the experience can be extremely scary, especially at such a frightening time of sickness.  And the plain white masks can be a daunting sight.

Jennifer’s goal is to help ease the pain in any way possible, in this case mentally, and she’s found what is an absolutely incredible solution. Using tissue paper, Cook makes the plain masks into a mod podge project, giving each face a different personality.



“I started thinking these masks are white and bland and not fun at all for kids,” she told The Greenville News.

Her inspiration comes from talking with the family and finding out what the kids’ interests are. Maybe that Batman or a princess, it just depends on the child. Though the masks take about 30 hours to make total, Jennifer has no problem sacrificing her personal time to give her patients a little something extra.



“I felt like if we could make it a little more fun for them, they might be a little more excited about coming in for treatment,” she said. “Because the kids are scared.”

And Jennifer is seeing a real difference in their attitudes from that small, special change.

“The kids really like them,” said Dr. Michael Greenbaum, a radiation oncologist with GHS. “It makes what is, let’s face it, a horrible experience, a nice aspect of the experience, because they get to choose something … themselves. It personalizes a mask that probably otherwise would look like it’s from Friday the 13th.”


By taking the time to care of these children, treat them with love and trying to empathize with what they’re going through, Jennifer is making a difference!

Here are some of her best creations:

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