BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A local girl scout is helping to provide a little more comfort to cancer patients who are going through chemotherapy with a creative invention.
Project Port Pillow is the creation of West High senior 18-year-old Cassidee Shepherd.
"They are little pillows that are about 5X5 that cover the port where chemo patients get their chemo, because the seat belt hits it and it's very uncomfortable," said Shepherd.
Shepherd said it was those close to her who inspired her to make the pillows.
"My best friend had cancer when we were nine and my mom's three best friends had cancer and it all irritated them," said Shepherd.
Project Port Pillow earned Shepherd the Girl Scout Gold Award. It is the highest achievement in girl scouting.
"I've been thinking about getting my Gold Award since I was six years old," said Shepherd. "I knew I always wanted to get it, and when the time came for me to actually get it, I felt like I achieved something huge."
Part of the criteria for achieving the Gold Award is to come up with a large-scale project that will have a lasting impact in the community, according to The Girl Scouts of the USA.
"It's quite a big accomplishment," said troop leader, Kathy Smith. "Once she gets it done it takes 60 to 80 hours to finish a Gold Award Project, so she put a lot of work into it and did a really good job."
With the help of her troop and friends, Shepherd has made over 200 pillows for the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center, Links for Life and The American Cancer Society. She is making an additional 100 pillows to hand out at Relay For Life this weekend.
Shepherd's mother said she isn't surprised her daughter took on this challenge.
"I knew she would do something that would make an impact on the community, more than anything," said Kim Shepherd. "That is just the type of girl she is, she has a really good heart."
Shepherd said it makes her feel good she can provide a little bit of peace and comfort during a difficult time.
"It makes me feel amazing, it's kind of indescribable because it's just the best feeling in the world to help someone," said Shepherd.
Shepherd joins 51 other girl scouts who have earned the Gold Award since 2009, according to The Girl Scouts of the USA.