Young cancer survivor is on a mission to help other sick kids

January 17, 2017

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

From the moment you meet 9-year-old Nya Ricks, you just know there’s something special about her.

She is a cancer survivor, but that surely does not define her. Little Nya loves to have fun, dance and help others. In fact, right now – she is smack dab in the middle of a pajama drive. She’s collecting pajamas for sick kids. I know, amazing – right!  Turns out, on the night Nya was diagnosed with leukemia, it meant the beginning of a months-long stay in the hospital. Mom, Lindsay said they were not prepared, “The night Nya was diagnosed, we never expected to hear the words ‘Your daughter has cancer,’ and then to be told that you will not be going home for months, we were devastated.”

The first thing they needed – pajamas for Nya. The little sweetie felt most comfortable in her pajamas.

They never forgot what that time was like. So, Nya the cancer survivor has become a sort of pajama fairy. She collects the comfy outfits, along with underwear, and brings them to kids staying at Women and Children’s Hospital and Roswell Park. Nya says knowing she’s doing something to make a difference means a lot, “Collecting pajamas for kids in the hospital means that I’m making kids happy by providing them with comfy pajamas to wear while they aren’t feeling good! It makes me so happy to see the smiles on their faces when I pass them out.”

And get this – since starting their mission in 2014, Nya, her family and supporters have collected more than 350 pairs of pajamas and underwear. The pjs have all gone to the pediatric floor at Roswell Park and Children’s Hospital

Nya has this message for all of us, “Keep smiling,  even when you’re going through tough times.”

Well said, Nya.

If you would like to help Nya with her collection of pajamas for sick kids, you can find more information here.


About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.