A Note From Cheryl
April has gone by quickly with many wonderful things going on with Caitlin’s Smiles. We’ve had lots of school groups visiting our office, taking tours, assembling craft kits and dropping off donations from craft drives. More and more of these children have heard of Caitlin’s Smiles in their communities from a child who has received one of our Bags of Smiles™ in the hospital.
April 15th was one of the highlights of the month! I spent a wonderful day at the Reading Area Community College at their RACCY Olympics. They introduced a new way to have fun, build camaraderie and help support Caitlin’s Smiles. Their students, staff and administration created teams of 5 to 10 to join a fundraising competition featuring crazy games such as Frisbee throws, M&M Shuffles and the Move Those Hips
Relay. The weather was beautiful and the event was phenomenal! They raised an amazing $17,113.91 for Caitlin’s Smiles! A giant thanks to Dana McMullen and her committee (and family) for organizing such an incredible day. Dana supported our cause as part of her Key Club’s project in high school, and she was able to recommend us for a college project. Check out their wonderful website to view the photos from the event.
In May, we’re off and running full speed with our annual Indoor Yard Sale and Soup/Sandwich Sale on May 7, graciously hosted again by Zion Lutheran Church in Dauphin, PA. Our biggest fundraiser of the year is on May 14, the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community in Harrisburg, PA. Lisa Bleiwess and Tara Latsha are coordinating the event for Caitlin’s Smiles. We have lots of great teams and individuals signed up and are looking for more! To register or to make a pledge go to our website or www.walkforahealthycommunity.org, select Harrisburg and go to the Caitlin’s Smiles link. One of the teams is featured below.
Miles for Mason
(written by Mason's mom)
One of the teams registered to walk for us is, “Miles for Mason.” Mason knows all too well how a child feels being hospitalized, because he’s been there and done that many times in his life and it really is no fun. But the times he received Bags of Smiles he remembers as happier times, because they gave him something to focus on and it took away much of the anxiety and fear that goes along with being in the hospital.
Since the age of 11 months, Mason has suffered from several rare disorders. One almost took his life at the age of 2 and required major colon surgery; others have caused him discomfort and pain, while others required a long-term placement of a feeding tube which he still has, and he has spent many days very sickly. Despite, the numerous ups and downs, hundreds of blood draws, numerous tests, procedures and surgeries – Mason’s unknown disease is currently stabilized due to his medication therapy. He is a very happy boy who adores his big sisters. He loves playing baseball, though football is his true passion. He is also very compassionate to other sick kids and wants to become a Phlebotomist one day.
So – we will be walking this 5K walk to show Mason that he is our hero! For those of you who don’t know Mason – do this Walk in honor of a child you know that deals with or has dealt with chronic sickness and/or life-threatening disease. To walk a mile in a sick child’s shoes is incomprehensible to most people, because most people don’t endure so much pain and suffering in an entire lifetime. These children are rare gems who truly show us adults what life is about.
Mason and his family have volunteered for us at many special events. They are helping others. They even collect stuffed animals and take them across the world with surgical teams to send smiles! They have done regular hospital deliveries for us to the National Institute of Health, Johns Hopkins and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia while Mason was going for treatments. We are very honored that they are walking for us their second year!
Summer Volunteer Opportunities
Fun new volunteer opportunities to get involved with over the summer are listed below. These are great ways to get your friends and families involved! Contact our office to sign up.
Ronald McDonald House in Hershey – Ongoing project to provide a crafting evening once a week with the families. Our volunteers love it as well as the families attending! The house has completed its expansion and is an absolutely beautiful home-away-from-home. We are honored to be able to get more involved with them. We are also providing the Ronald McDonald House Family Waiting Room at Penn State Children’s Hospital with Bags of Smiles for families with children in the hospital.
Annual Children’s Miracle Network Community Celebration –June 4 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on the campus of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Caitlin’s Smiles will have a table and activities along with other nonprofits providing services to the children in the hospital. Join family and friends for a day filled with food, games, entertainment and more!
Youth Music and Arts Festival – July 9, at Calvary United Methodist Church in Harrisburg sponsored by PECAN, Inc (PA Education of Children in the Arts Network).This event will benefit Caitlin’s Smiles, Children’s Wheelchair Dance and TASK (Theatre Arts for Special Kids). We need volunteers to staff craft tables.
12th Annual Fajita Fest 2011 – July 16, at the Polish Club, 3690 Needmore Road, Dayton, OH. Proceeds benefit A Special Wish Foundation and Caitlin’s Smiles.
The PA Amazing Chase for Kallan’s Klan (raising money for pediatric cancer) – July 23, modeled after the CBS reality show The Amazing Race. Caitlin’s Smiles will provide a pit stop utilizing the party room at The Meadows Original Frozen Custard in Enola. They’ll be doing a craft drive for us and will be assembling Bags of Smiles! Kallan organized craft drives for Caitlin’s Smiles at her school after having received Bags of Smiles during her hospital stays.
Knoebel’s Grove Amusement Park Fundraiser - August 13, in Elysburg, PA. Picnic lunch served and reduced price ride tickets available. Watch for upcoming eBlasts with more details.
All of these are great summer volunteer opportunities. If you are available to help work a shift at any of the events, please email us.
Save the date!
October 1, 2011, A Night of Smiles – Arts Benefit at the Radisson Hotel, Camp Hill, PA, 6:00-9:00 pm, Emcee – Flora Posteraro, abc27
Thank You For This Month
At the beginning of this month our 2 year old son caught what we thought was a routine cold. It turned out to be Reactive airway disease and bronchialitis. We had to spend a night at the hospital getting breathing treatments and what not, but after 24 hours they let us go home.
When we were told in the emergency room that we would be staying at the hospital we had nothing for him to do, and neither one of us wanted to leave to run to the house and get something. The care package provided for us was perfect! The book was age appropriate, the crayons were perfect, and the play-doh was simply an added bonus!
We can't say enough good things about your organization. The package you put together clearly shows your understanding of the people in that situation. The way I explain it to other people is that you folks know exactly what to place in those packages for people who had no idea they were going to be spending time at the hospital. When I think of what you folks did for us at that moment, in a high stress situation for us both, I feel so much gratitude.
Ira, Vicki, and Caleb
Craft Assembly Night
Thursday, May 5, 2011 6-8PM
Craft Assembly Night
Thursday, May 12, 2011 6-8PM
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