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When Denise Carter, Finance Manager at Actualize Consulting, learned she could grant a wish to a child living with cancer, she didn’t hesitate. “I have two small children, and seeing the pictures of the kids nominated for the wishes makes me realize how blessed we are to have our health,” she explained.
Pile of Smile is a unique organization that sells donated art created by kids and uses its proceeds to fulfill the wishes of children with cancer. After witnessing the struggle of a family friend who ultimately passed away from cancer, eight-year-old Imogen Adams also expressed an interest in giving back. She decided she wanted to sell art—something she loved—to raise money that could be used to make the wishes of cancer patients come true.
NOMINATING KIDS TO RECEIVE WISHES
Granting a mini-wish is as simple as a $100 donation. Bigger wishes, such as sending a child to Disney or another popular destination, requires a donation of approximately $3,000. To date, Pile of Smile has granted three large wishes and partnered with Actualize Consulting to facilitate over ten mini-wishes. They work with families to fulfil wishes of children between the ages of 2 and 21 who have been diagnosed with cancer.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
The heartfelt gratitude from the wish kids is one of the major inspirations for those involved. One recipient, Sara, sent this message after receiving her mini-wish: “I wanted to reach out personally and thank you for all the Harry Potter gear. It made my day! The day I received it was the day I finished the last book and it made me smile. I was so sick that day.”
There are so many different and meaningful ways to help—from creating art to volunteering to becoming an ambassador.
Ten-year-old ambassador Audrey noticed while volunteering at CureFest that there were more kids with cancer than she ever realized. She explained, “Seeing all the kids made me want to keep helping any way I can.”
Pile of Smile provides hands-on opportunities for the entire family. They host art events and partner with Girl and Boy Scout troops for art or community-service badges, in addition to providing opportunities for art submissions.
Through social media and care pages, Pile of Smile actively monitors each child in the wish program to ensure continued support is provided beyond the initial wish granting. Corporations are encouraged to get involved by hosting events, sponsoring wishes, or making monetary donations.
DISTRIBUTING ACTIVITY BOOKS
To expand their reach, the Pile of Smile activity book was created for children of all ages to promote creativity and imagination. Knowing that children undergoing cancer treatment are sometimes unable to participate in former activities at the same level, the Pile of Smile team developed the book and distributes free copies. The organization handed out over 200 copies at CureFest 2015 and provided 100 to both 4Another and KraftLove. The books are also being used in schools, yoga classes, and shelters. All proceeds go directly back into production costs and the continued ability to dispense these books for free.
The books are available at amazon.com or can be directly purchased wholesale from Pile of Smile. The organization is currently seeking additional avenues for spreading the joy of these activity books.
Kerry Wekelo is the Director of Operations at Actualize Consulting where her Leadership Training program has successfully influenced a teamwork environment at some of the world’s largest companies. Check out her firm’s website at actualizeconsulting.com or email her at [email protected].