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Teen gives thousands of sick children books through 'For Love and Buttercup' book drive

Books on a shelf
Posted at 6:38 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 22:14:13-05

In 2019, 18-year-old Emily Bhatnagar's father was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

"It was the worst. It was like reliving it every single night, like nightmares and panic attacks," Bhatnagar told CBS.

She got through that time by reading and decided to try and find a way to share the magic of books with others.

"I thought, 'It's hard enough for an adult to have cancer,' but, when you think about a kid having cancer, and it just broke my heart," she said.

So that's when Bhatnagar started "For Love and Buttercup," a book drive that began with messages on social media asking others to donate books so she could share them with sick children.

"I was expecting like two or three responses, and there were like hundreds and hundreds, and so many books by my door, and it was just really exciting," she told CBS.

The project helped her with multiple life challenges she said.

“I was struggling with an eating disorder and going through a really rough time," she told WJLA. “Eventually when I recovered, it was to cope with my dad's cancer."

Now she has thousands of books to give to pediatric patients. She says the experience of helping others has changed her life. Bhatnagar has distributed at least 9,000 new books to hospitals and schools, including the hospital where her father was treated for cancer.

She hopes to make the book drive a project that she carries with her for many years.