9-year-old cancer survivor helps ailing children

- Rebecca Salmins, 9, of Wyckoff, New Jersey, was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 6. The news came just days shy of her seventh birthday. During the months that followed, the most difficult times of her life, Becca's strength and maturity shined through.

"Even in the depth of her own despair, she was raising awareness and wanted to give back and help other kids because she could totally relate to what they were going through," said Sherry Salmins, Becca's mom.

 "(I wanted to) help people make it through such hard times and make it easier for them," said Becca.

During her treatment, Giants quarterback Eli Manning would often visit Hackensack UMC as part of his charitable endeavors. He was inspired by Becca's fundraising efforts and the two formed an instant bond.

"It was exciting because I always wanted to meet him," said Becca.

After the pair met, their bond grew stronger. Becca says she began to really open up around him and was no longer shy. The Salmins were asked to participate in Eli's Challenge. It is a community grass roots fundraising effort. Eli would match 1:1 the donations that came through.

During her last 100 days of treatment, Becca and her team raised $30,000 to help benefit HUMC's Tackle Kids Cancer Foundation.

Jon Fitzgerald, president of the Hackensack UMC Foundation, continues to be impressed by how this Foundation is growing. It has already raised more than $4 million.

"It's wonderful, especially with patients, you know how much they're going through already," Fitzgerald said. "So, they bring a real spirit and real earnestness to raising money to help find a cure and end pediatric cancer."

As one of those former patients, Becca has stayed committed to helping others. Over the past year, she began her own mission, launching a bracelet company called Knots and Arrows.

Becca said, "I want to help give money to find a cure for childhood cancer."

A portion of the will go towards helping families in need, as well as Tackle Kids Cancer.

Each bracelet was uniquely designed using bathing suit material, in honor of the movie "Finding Dory" and its motto: "Just Keep Swimming."

And the message behind the Knots and Arrows name is as inspiring as its mission. Knots: When you've reached the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. Arrows: An arrow can only be shot by dragging it backwards, so when life seems to be dragging you back, it's getting ready to launch you into something great.

Becca wrapped up chemotherapy treatment on November 13 and as she launches into her own something great; her family is celebrating with a puppy. One that will have a very special name.

"We're doing Ellie," she said, the girl version of Eli.

Becca's bracelets are dependent on a Kickstarter campaign. The last day to donate is March 1st and there is still about $8,000 that needs to be raised. When you donate 50$ or more you get a set of 3 knots and arrows bracelets.

Click here to learn more about Knots and Arrows

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