WYCKOFF, N.J. — Going through her worst moments brought out the best in Wyckoff's Cassidy DeMona in many ways.
The 16-year-old Ramapo High School student launched Joy Packages non-profit organization to send care packages to children with chronic illnesses after dealing with her own diagnosis of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and other illnesses.
"I knew what being truly at your worst was like, and how alone warriors can feel," DeMona told Daily Voice. "I started Joy Packages ... as my way to give back. I want every chronic illness warrior to know that they are far from alone, and that I am fighting with them."
DeMona sent out around 45 packages since starting her organization last December. Most went to children in the United States but some went around the world to places like Trinidad and Tobago.
The packages contain items like blankets, toys, coloring books, fuzzy socks and more.
"Knowing that I am helping others is the reason I am who I am," DeMona said. "Every time I get a message from a recipient telling me that they got their package and how happy it made them, I cry with joy. I believe that I was put on this Earth to help people, and I found my way to do it."
DeMona said she hopes to send a package to someone in all 50 states eventually. She said talking to other people in her situation helped her get through it as well.
"Having been in their shoes makes it all the more special" she said, "because I know just that a little bit of support goes a long way."
MORE INFO: Visit Joy Packages' website.