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Way to Go: Elizabeth Stiles, Woodbury

Elizabeth Stiles, 17, a junior at Our Lady

Elizabeth Stiles, 17, a junior at Our Lady of Mercy Academy High School in Syosset, has launched an organization designed to create a network of high school students who offer free child-care services to cancer-affected families that apply for the help. Photo Credit: The Stiles family

A junior at Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Syosset is helping to assist local families dealing with cancer.

Junior Elizabeth Stiles of Woodbury has launched an organization

designed to create a network of high school students who offer free child-care services to

cancer-affected families that apply for the help.

The organization -- named "Helping Hand Babysitting" -- started over the summer with 30 volunteers from Our Lady of Mercy who performed more than 170 hours of service for seven families.

Stiles, 17, said she came up with the idea after baby-sitting and doing errands a few years ago for a neighbor, one of whose children was being treated for leukemia.

"It started out as a seed of an idea," Stiles said. "Sometimes, you don't realize how much people right here on Long Island are suffering."

Volunteers indicate their availability and how far they can travel, so they can be paired with compatible families. To identify families, Stiles teamed up with CancerCare in Woodbury. She also has passed out fliers at local cancer walks.

Stiles is captain of the varsity basketball team and a member of Math Club, Leaders Club, Ambassadors Club, Craft Club and Mercy Action, a community

service club.

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