R. Ryan’s Case for Smiles
I’m back, Rebecca’s friend Marianne! Perhaps you saw the blog Rebecca so graciously posted on Q – Quilts of Valor. Well somehow I tricked her (can you imagine) into allowing me to blog again!
There’s a theme with me and it centers around – wait for it – SEWING! This time I’d like to tell a little about Ryan’s Case for Smiles (formerly known as ConKerr Cancer).
What is Ryan’s Case for Smiles?
Ryan’s Case for Smiles is one the few volunteer organizations solely dedicated to helping kids feel better to heal better. While other great organizations focus on research and finding a cure, we work to improve the quality of life of children and their families as they undergo treatment.
Why the work matters
A hospital stay can be a terrifying experience for a child – especially those with cancer and other life-changing illnesses. Recent research indicates 20% of children who are hospitalized with cancer and 30% of their mothers suffer full symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These rates are comparable to that experienced by U.S. War Veterans serving since the Vietnam War. The good news is trauma can be minimized and outcomes improved through experiences that reduce stress.
Ryan’s Case for Smiles (formerly ConKerr Cancer) was founded in 2007 to bring comfort and support to young patients and their families in hospitals around the globe. We started with a simple goal: to create and distribute whimsical pillowcases that give children an emotional boost and remind them that they are not defined by their illness. Today, our programs have expanded to include the children’s entire families so they can better navigate and cope with a very difficult experience and avoid long term emotional trauma. To ensure the highest quality care, we have partnered with PTSD experts at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children to create valuable web-based information and tools designed for each member of the family’s unique experience.
How I got involved
There are 120 chapters across the country with thousands of volunteers. Marie Nader runs the Massachusetts chapter and I met Marie thru my friend Marge (a member of Quilts of Valor too). Marie and her band of volunteers are regular sewers at the children’s hospitals near the Boston area. From picking out the kit, to helping a child create their very own pillowcase, these volunteers make a difference in the life of a child.
I was introduced to this wonderful organization about three years ago to help make pillowcases for children at Camp. Not just an ordinary camp, but The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp founded by Paul Newman. Sound familiar? It might if you read Rebecca’s “H” Blog – Raising Money for HOP. You see Marie met the Camp Counselors from The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp at the hospitals doing their outreach program. Seeing how the organizations complimented each other in trying to achieve the same goal, create better emotional well-being in a child, the HOP people invited Marie to the Camp.
While all of us cannot be there to sew a pillowcase with a child, I would recommend this life changing event to everyone. Volunteers sew pillowcases at home, so the chapter has plenty to distribute when on-the-spot sewing is not an option. My Quilt Guild for instance, held its Second Annual Pillow Case Party and gave Marie 225 much needed completed pillowcases. The first quarter of 2016 they have distributed 1,702. That’s 1,702 SMILES!
If you’d like to donate, volunteer or find out more information about Ryan’s Case for Smiles please visit their website.
We Sew for the kids! We Ride for the Kids!
Blogging my way from A to Z as part of the 2016 April A to Z Challenge. Come blog through the alphabet with me.