Sweet Surprise

When The Hershey Company caught wind of the fact that UC Health chemotherapy patients like the taste of their blue-raspberry Jolly Ranchers, they sent over a sweet surprise.

By Rosie Ecker

When UC Medical Center nurse, Sheri Lewis, underwent chemotherapy in 2017, she noticed that blue-raspberry Jolly Ranchers were just what the doctor ordered to help with her changing taste buds.

She also realized that she must not be alone; the flavor became more and more difficult to find in her go-to places across the UC Health Barrett Cancer Center.

Sheri and former colleague Barb Ehrhardt—who recently retired, but continues to make and deliver handmade “comfort chemo bags” to patients undergoing chemotherapy—were in for a treat in early October when they received 5,000 blue-raspberry Jolly Ranchers from The Hershey Company, which owns the Jolly Rancher brand. (Outreach from a UC Health team member to someone at The Kroger Co. led to a direct connection with the Hershey team.)

The candies, say Sheri and Barb, will be added to the comfort chemo bags, which are also filled with a fleece blanket, a padded seatbelt cover to protect the patient’s chemotherapy port, lip moisturizer, a notepad and pencil, a pillow for comfort, and a water bottle for hydration.

“This donation really means so much to us as we attempt to help those during their cancer treatments,” Sheri said.

“We are delighted with the donation of Jolly Ranchers. Hard candy helps to decrease the unpleasant after taste caused by the chemotherapy. By having the candy in the chemo bags, patients know they are just a reach away when needed,” Barb said.

If you would like to get involved in the chemo comfort bag project, please email Barb Ehrhardt at barbehrhardt42@gmail.com or Sheri Lewis at s.lewis030405@gmail.com

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