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Published on September 16, 2015

One Million Milestone Marked with Special Pillowcase Delivery at MU Children’s Hospital

  • Pillowcase milestone
  • Pillowcase milestone
  • Pillowcase milestone

COLUMBIA, Mo. (Sept. 16, 2015) ― One patient at MU Children’s Hospital received a special delivery today. At a glance, it may appear 2 year-old De’Andre Washington has a little extra color in his pillowcase, but this pillowcase is one in a million that is not only meant to help brighten his hospital room but is packed with significance.

For four years, the Pennsylvania-based nonprofit Ryan’s Case for Smiles has been delivering colorful and cheerful pillowcases to MU Children’s Hospital. The pillowcases are designed to help the patients’ rooms feel more like home and ultimately help them cope with the stress of illness and injury. During that time, MU Children’s Hospital has received more than 1,900 pillowcases as part of the worldwide program.

Today, Washington, from Ashland, received Case for Smiles’ ceremonial one millionth pillowcase. Case for Smiles is celebrating the millionth pillowcase donation by delivering ceremonial pillowcases to one child at each of its 120 chapters across North America. The pillowcase delivered today was made by Jefferson City seamstress Connie May, who has made and donated numerous pillowcases to MU Children’s Hospital.

“It’s amazing how one simple pillowcase can make such a big difference in a child’s life,” said Meredith Lehman, child life coordinator at MU Children’s Hospital. “The children are so excited to be able to pick out their very own pillowcase that is special to them. The bright and cheerful colors of the pillowcases help to promote a positive and calming environment for the children.”

Case for Smiles was founded seven years ago by a mother who made pillowcases for her son, Ryan, to brighten his hospital room while he was undergoing cancer treatment. The organization has delivered more than one million pillowcases to children with cancer and other life changing illnesses and injuries at more than 330 hospitals in the United States and Canada.

Pillowcases were chosen because they provide seven stress relievers that enhance the well-being of the patient and their families: comfort, play, choice, familiarity, expression, connection and hope.

“We are acutely aware that with enhanced emotional well-being, the children are more likely to regain their health faster,” said Cindy Kerr, chief executive officer and founder of Ryan’s Case for Smiles. “A hospital stay can be a terrifying experience for a child, but research shows the trauma can be minimized and outcomes can be improved through experiences that reduce stress.”

Thousands of volunteers have donated more than 40 million hours to make and deliver the pillowcases. All of the donated supplies and materials for the one million pillowcases are worth more than $10 million. Case for Smiles local chapter accepts donations to provide pillowcases to patients at MU Children’s Hospital, as well as young patients at other hospitals around mid-Missouri.

Anyone wishing to make a donation can get more how-to information including how to make the pillowcase, what type of material to use and drop off locations on their website go to the “get involved” tab.

Photos: Click here for high-resolution photos of the millionth pillowcase donation.