Sally O’Shea

Volunteer | 2016

While receiving inpatient chemotherapy treatments for ovarian cancer at the Mass General Cancer Center, Sally O’Shea, a talented quilter, spent her time stitching miniature millet-filled stars out of colorful fabrics and giving them to her care team, fellow patients and volunteers. Once she left the hospital, she kept on making them.

Since 2012, Sally has created nearly 7,000 of the cheerful keepsakes, fashioning custom stars for patients she meets, donating them to cancer fundraising events, and scattering them in hospital waiting rooms to brighten the day of those who find them.

Recipients near and far consider the stars to be little pieces of magic accompanying them through challenging appointments and treatments: “Holding these stars turns fear into smiles, gives strength and brings comfort,” says nominator Eileen Cummings.

“Sally chose to take her personal struggle with ovarian cancer and channel the experience into the creation of the most glorious, lovely, little stuffed fabric stars,” says artist Page Hodel, a 2015 the one hundred honoree.”I’m speechless at the sweetness and beauty of this project.”

In addition to spreading hope and joy through her stars, Sally participates in many cancer advocacy organizations including Cancer Connection in Western Massachusetts where she lives.

Sally is making the world more beautiful for people living with cancer one star at a time.

Story told by Jordan Rich of The Jordan Rich Show on WBZ NewsRadio 1030. Visit to learn more and meet the rest of our honorees.

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