BURTONSVILLE, Md. (WDVM)– Jersey Mike’s is a national food chain known for making sandwiches. Now, they’re taking a moment to recognize people who are doing exceptional things in their community and one of the honorees is Burtonsville’s Kristena Kitchen.
They say life’s tragedies have a way of shaping the future. Nothing could be truer for Kristena. This mother of 3 lost her eldest daughter, 9-year-old Bryanna, in 2016 to a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Years later she has turned her inexplainable pain into an avenue for healing.
Bryanna loved stuffed animals, and her during her hospital stay, it was the one thing that brought her happiness and comfort and now her mother wants others in the same predicament to find joy in it as well.
“When you’re going through this hard, dark thing, you become very isolated and yes, there’s a community around you, but to be able to hold onto something cuddly or have a warm blanket, when you have the hard, hospital blanket, it’s just a game-changer when you’re in the hospital,” said Kitchen.
Giving and making a difference has been Jersey Mike’s mission from the very beginning. This is the third year that Jersey Mike’s has awarded Sub Abover grants. Kitchen’s dedication and passion for making sure no child nor family ever feels this way is precisely why Jersey Mike’s decided to recognize her as a person who’s making a difference in her community.
Kristena says she’s going to put the money towards building the business and eventually funding an all-expense-paid vacation for families who are affected by illness, because she knows all too well, the burden it bears.
“We kind of picked the people, that we’re really making a difference and had a good cause behind them,” said VP of operations in the D.C area, Kyle Yancey. “In this situation, unfortunately, she has lost a child at an early age and really understands the benefit and the role she can play for other kids and other families, who may be in unfortunate circumstances.”
To learn about all things Bryanna’s Love, click here.