Group photo w/ child hugging heart-shaped pillow

Heart-shaped pillow blankets warm hearts of childhood cancer patients

Maita Subaru and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - Central Valley brighten the day for kids with cancer


Life is a little rough for 9-year-old Emmanuel “Manny” Goff, a cancer patient at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. For more than six months, he has been coming all the way from Redding to get chemotherapy. It is a long drive and the pediatric infusion room is often chilly.

Bald young boy hugs navy-blue pillow blanket while standing next to man in a light-blue shirt who is kneeling.
Manny Goff hugs a heart-shaped pillow blanket next to Marcio Malogolowkin, chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology.

That’s why a soft, heart-shaped pillow that turns into a blanket was a welcome gift. He responded with a huge smile when asked if it was cuddly.

As part of a national Subaru Loves to Care campaign, Maita Subaru joined with the local Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to donate 80 navy-blue plaid pillows to the cancer center last week. The center then gave the pillows pediatric cancer patients.

Manny was diagnosed with T-cell acute Leukemia last year shortly before Thanksgiving.

“His only symptoms were swollen lymph glands and a runny nose,” his mother Leslie Goff said, as she watched her son at the center of attention during a TV news interview highlighting the pillow donation.

Pillow blanket donation drop-off interview
Good Day Sacramento’s Molly Riehl covered the pillow blanket donation drop-off at the cancer center.

Media was on hand to cover the donation drop off at the cancer center’s north building lobby. Maita Subaru and LLS have teamed up for the past nine years to collect items such as toys, blankets, and arts and crafts kits — all for young UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center patients.

Marcio Malogolowkin, chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology,  along with supportive oncology staff, accepted the mound of donated pillow blankets.

“This tells us that we are not alone,” Malogolowkin said. “Our patients and their families have a hard job as they go through treatment, but knowing they have this kind of support makes this unpredictable journey much easier on them and on us.”

It’s important to brighten the day of childhood leukemia patients, said Amy Pine, campaign development specialist with LLS - Central Valley.

“It is hard to be in a cold infusion room. We think these pillow blankets will give them something warm to sit with, which we hope will make their day.”

On a national level, Pine said LLS and Subaru have provided 350,000 donated items to patients being treated for blood cancers. It is part of what they call “messages of hope for those facing cancer in the community.”

“Locally, partnering with LLS and UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center means so much to Maita Subaru,” said Levi Whittaker who is the “love promise champion” with Maita Subaru.  “We know the kids here are going through so much and this is very near and dear to us.”

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 100,000 adults and children every year and access to more than 200 active clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 240 scientists at UC Davis who work collaboratively to advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Patients have access to leading-edge care, including immunotherapy and other targeted treatments. Its Office of Community Outreach and Engagement addresses disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations, and the cancer center provides comprehensive education and workforce development programs for the next generation of clinicians and scientists. For more information, visit

Clinical Trials at UC Davis