Battling cancer should be the last thing a child has to worry about. But sadly, 20 percent of young survivors also end up suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. No matter the reason, a hospital stay doesn't have to be a scary experience.
That's why Ryan’s Case for Smiles (formerly ConKerr Cancer) has donated whimsical pillowcases to pediatric patients across the nation for the last seven years. On Sept. 17, the nonprofit organization made 120 special deliveries – including one for Mercy Kids in Springfield – as it celebrates one million pillowcase donations.
“With this generous gift, we’ll be able to make our pediatric rooms even more welcoming and stress-free,” said Ashley Wilson, child life services manager at Mercy Kids. “The best part is they’re able to take them home when they leave, to show their family and friends. We want them to start smiling sooner so they’re back to being kids again.”
“We do it for the joy and smiles that these pillowcases bring to young patients,” said Cindy Growcock, coordinator for the Southwest Missouri chapter, which she launched two years ago. “It began with just me and a pattern. Today, we have a team of volunteers from across the region who provide their own fabric, thread and supplies. We’re delivering up to 400 pillowcases each month to local children’s hospitals.”
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time when Mercy Hospital Springfield shines a bright light on the cause – literally. For the next few weeks, the hospital’s patient tower will feature glowing with gold lights to greet visitors.
Ryan’s Case for Smiles is one of the few volunteer organizations solely dedicated to helping sick children cope with the stress of their illnesses and injuries. After seven years of existence, ConKerr Cancer changed its name to Ryan’s Case for Smiles (Case for Smiles for short) in August of 2015, and adopted the new tagline, “helping kids feel better to heal better,” to capture the nonprofit’s growth and the impact of its volunteers. The new name, Case for Smiles, reflects the evolution of the organization’s mission to serve all children with life changing illnesses and injuries- not just those with cancer, and honors the thousands of people who are creating smiles each day. For more information visit www.caseforsmiles.org.
Mercy Kids is a network of pediatric care dedicated to meeting the needs of every child, every day. It is powered by more than 700 pediatricians and family doctors in partnership with 125 pediatric specialists. Anchored by two acute care pediatric hospitals in St. Louis and Springfield, Mo., Mercy Kids offers a full range of services to support healthy childhoods, including pediatric, specialty and educational services.