I recently finished a basket of smiles, 8 in total! I’m hoping you will be inspired today to help make some smiles too.

I’m so happy to be able to help raise awareness for ConKerr Cancer under their brand new name – Ryan’s Case for Smiles! I started making pillowcases for this great cause when my Sewcial group decided to use one of our monthly meetings to make some. This time around, I found enough fabric to make 8 pillowcases in my stash, it was simple to make some more. I got to choose some cute fabrics that will make a few kids smile, and I moved yardage off of my shelves. Maybe we should call it “De-Stashing for a Good Cause”?!

Kelsey, their western coordinator, contacted me about writing this post and has kindly written this introduction to “Case for Smiles”, background for how they got started.

Ryan’s Case for Smiles (formerly ConKerr Cancer) started when Cindy Kerr’s son was diagnosed with cancer in 2002 and she began making pillowcases to brighten up his hospital room and to put a smile on his face. He loved it and so she began making pillowcases for other children on the Oncology Unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Photo provided by Ryan’s Case for Smiles

“I just wanted to send along a quick note of thanks. As a nurse I have the pleasure of handing out your beautiful pillowcases to my patients. I wish all of your volunteers could see the smiles of our patients and their parents and families. The color and softness of each pillowcase is as comforting for our kids as it is for us. Thank you!!  Your work makes a difference to the caregivers also!” ~ via Ryan’s Case for Smiles

School groups, sewing circles, church groups, and fabric stores have all pitched in and are making pillow cases to comfort children in hospitals around the world. Thousands of Ryan’s Case for Smiles volunteers in over 120 cities dedicate themselves to brightening children’s lives through the simple act of sewing a bright, cheery pillowcase. As a result of their love and generosity, Ryan’s Case for Smiles has delivered more than 1,000,000 pillowcases in just seven years to 330 hospitals across the globe.

Photo provided by Ryan’s Case for Smiles

“I’m not sure how a little thing like a pillowcase can make such a huge difference, but the pillowcase we received from you guys is one of the very few things that is able to bring our daughter comfort while she is in the hospital for treatment. It has been a soft place to lay her head for over 200 nights at the hospital over the past 3 years. Thank you for all you guys do!” ~ via Ryan’s Case for Smiles

Ryan’s Case for Smiles has made amazing progress towards our goal of making hospital stays as pleasant as possible for chronically ill children and their parents. A simple pillowcase means so much to a child while they’re in the hospital and away from home. It helps cheer them up, gives them something soft to snuggle, reminds them of the comforts of home, helps calm their fears and brightens up their hospital room. The pillowcase project has also fostered a spirit of community and volunteer service in communities across the world.

Unfortunately there are always new little patients who need our love and support, and we must continue our efforts to help brighten patients’ lives and raise awareness about childhood cancer and other childhood illnesses.

Photo provided by Ryan’s Case for Smiles

“I don’t know what it is about the pillowcases that you make, but they add a little bit of magic to our hospital rooms. Bright, fun, cheerful, uplifting magic.” ~ via Ryan’s Case for Smiles

It’s so amazing that they have made 1,000,000 pillowcases! Want to help make the next million?! 

Ryan’s Case for Smiles is always looking for donations of handmade pillowcases and new cotton fabrics to help make more pillowcases with. Information on how you can help Ryan’s Case for Smiles can be found at www.caseforsmiles.org

How easy is it really?!

From experience, making a pillowcase is very simple. A few cuts and three straight lines of sewing – two if you count the corner as 1 line! I serged my raw edges, making it even faster. They have great instructions, or you can give or donate towards buying fabric if that is simpler.

There are so many ways to help out. I hope you can join us!