BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – A woman from North Tonawanda is providing comfort for children battling cancer at Oishei Children’s Hospital.

“Now being a cancer survivor and being able to give back, is just something that means a lot to me as well as my family,” Olivia Gonyea told News 4.

When Olivia was eight years old, she was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. After nine months of chemotherapy, and several surgeries, she was cancer free. Twelve years later, Olivia and her family still remember what it felt like to wait for that moment.

“One of my major surgeries when I was 8, on my arm, I was very scared, very nervous,” Olivia said. “My parents would try to console me in the waiting room for the surgery and really nothing was working.”

“It was such a nightmare back when we were going through all that,” said Olivia’s mom, Mary. “Just to see the fear in her and the fear of knowing what she was going through, that surgery and why and there was no consoling her during that time.”

That is until Olivia was handed a teddy bear.

“When Tara, the life resource person, came through with that bear and a blanket, she totally calmed Olivia down,” Mary said.

“That was really one memory in the hospital that meant a lot to me and we thought why don’t we start delivering bears,” Olivia said.

That moment, sparked the creation of Olivia’s bears, a foundation that delivers bears and comfort to children battling cancer. Each year Olivia is able to deliver more than 100 stuffed animals at Oishei and her efforts to give back don’t stop there. Through the organization Hope Rises and it’s Shine Gold For the Kids initiative, Olivia is helping to remodel a room on the hospital’s oncology floor.

“They reached out to us about a year ago, and said we have this space, and we would love to make it more welcoming, fill it a little bit and make it more relaxing and make it an escape for anyone staying on the floor,” Olivia said.

“To see Olivia take this and run with it and want to give back, it makes us very proud,” Mary said.

The family is hoping the project is completed by spring of 2023.

“We’re super excited about it,” Olivia said. “We’re still in the planning phases and kind of getting all the furniture and the design set but we’re really excited and hopefully begin construction and making updates in the next few months.”

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.