Introducing: Rachel’s Bags of Love

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In June of 2014, three-year-old Rachel Pitts was diagnosed with leukemia. Rachel’s cancer diagnosis was hard on the Pitts family. As an active and involved family of seven, childhood cancer was never a concern. After being transported to Sacred Heart in Pensacola, FL, Rachel and her mom would spend several weeks and months in and out of the hospital. The Pitts family would visit Rachel often, and the local Ronald McDonald House became a home away from home.

While visiting Rachel in the hospital, Rachel’s sister, Ady, noticed that other families who were unexpectedly admitted did not have the supplies needed for their stay. So, Ady began supplying bags filled with basic toiletries and coloring books, and called them “Bags of Love.”

Rachels Bags Of LoveWithin a year, Ady provided over 200 bags to the hospital, and her elementary school hosted several donation drives to support her mission. At that time, everything seemed to be going incredibly well, until it wasn’t. The Pitts family could see the finish line for Rachel, and they were preparing for Rachel’s Make-A-Wish trip to go see Barney. But in November 2015, three days after Ady’s birthday, Rachel gained her angel wings. Heartbroken would be an understatement. Even though there was a six-year age difference, Ady and Rachel were best friends. From listening to Luke Bryan to watching Signing Time, Ady and Rachel did everything together. The Pitts family would never be the same.

To honor Rachel’s legacy, Bags of Love became Rachel’s Bags of Love. Since 2014, Rachel’s Bags of Love has provided over 800 bags to hospitals across the Panhandle. The mission is to provide families in the hospitals with care and necessities. Each bag contains $40 worth of basic supplies including full-size toiletries, activity books, a blanket, and a monkey. Rachel’s Bags of Love also raises awareness through fundraising events. When Ady was a student at Mosley High School, she hosted two Gold Strong football games to raise money for two students fighting cancer. Within two years she raised $6,000 to help alleviate the burden of childhood cancer. Outside of school, Ady and Rachel’s Bags of Love hosted two Golden Daddy Daughter Dances, a Breakfast for Dinner event, a Pickleball Tournament, and several running challenges. In March of 2023, Ady was the keynote speaker for Rally on the Runway where she helped raise half a million dollars for childhood cancer research. This year, 2024, marks ten years since starting Rachel’s Bags of Love, ten years of providing, fighting, and funding.

In August, Rachel’s Bags of Love is hosting a Night of Advocacy, a night filled with music, speakers, dinner, and silent and live auctions. The goal of the night is to fund one $50,000 research grant for childhood cancer. The event will take place on August 2, at Edgewater Event Center starting at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale for $100 a piece and all are welcome to spread awareness for childhood cancer. Sponsorships and auction items are greatly appreciated as well. Contact Rachel’s Bags of Love, Inc. at bagsofloveap@gmail.com for inquiries. Consider joining the fight, because no child should die from cancer.