Since launching in July 2015, North Shore Mums Smiles2U has brightened the hospital stays for hundreds of local North Shore families. On its 4th Birthday, Co-Founder Michelle Key from Pymble reflects of the journey of the organisation.
It’s incredible to believe that on the 29 July 2015, North Shore Mums Smiles2U was launched and what an amazing journey and experience it has been for all of us.
In the early days, we had a vision – to bring happiness, smiles and laughter to children in hospital. Little did we know, that four years later, we would be supplying eight hospitals (including one medical centre) from the North Shore of Sydney to the Central Coast and spreading random acts of kindness like:
- Smiles2U bags
- Essentials Care Packs
- Toys for the treasure chest in the children’s ward
- Delivering 100’s of Easter Eggs and Christmas Presents to the children in hospital
- Joy to Mums on Mother’s Day
- Supporting the social workers
- Giving thanks to our nurses
Many of us have had an experience with one of our children being rushed to Emergency during the day or at night, and we felt there was a need for something to be given to the children to distract them from what’s going on around them. Hospitals can be a scary and daunting place for children and if there is one thing we have learned from all this is that we can change a negative to a positive.
Our Smiles bags have been carefully thought of for all age groups. We researched what the best things would be to entertain a child of any age with whilst in hospital.
Our Smiles bags are filled with activities from crayons to craft, play dough to toys, stickers to colouring in books, teddy bears to rattles for the younger ones and card games and Sudoku for the older kids.
Our Essentials Care Packs are our parent and carers lifesavers whilst in hospital for those first 24 hours. Being given a bag filled with toiletries to make you feel better, freshen up and feel more awake can make all the difference to a stressful stay. We even include a notebook and pen to write down those important notes from doctors and nurses as well as a tea bag and a sachet of coffee to pick you up when the going gets tough.
In the last four years we have produced over 1600 Smiles Bags and over 1000 Essentials Care Packs.
Since we started in 2015 we have expanded our level of support to include Gift bags for women undergoing Chemotherapy for the first time, Essentials Packs for the elderly (those that arrive from nursing homes without basic items for their comfort and hygiene), supporting Bear Cottage with Gift bags for Mums and Essentials Packs for the Aboriginal Community admissions team over at Cumberland Hospital ( Westmead ).
We have held amazing fundraisers, for example: our movie nights and online auctions as well as launching our very own Online Store (to purchase a bag for another child in hospital) last year and the Wellness Corner for patients going through Cancer treatment.
Recently we received this lovely message from a very grateful Mum who was in Gosford Hospital with her 2 year old daughter:
“Hi Guys, I just want to say a huge thank you for the amazing work you do! We ended up in Gosford Hospital last week and the little goodie bag my daughter was given was amazing! She especially liked the play dough! Thanks again.” Rhiannon
Hours of voluntary work occurs behind the scenes at Smiles2U to continue to bring smiles and happiness to sick children in hospital and all of this could not be achieved without the incredible support from our community; from dropping off donations, to being a drop off point, to buying supplies for us or supporting us though our Online Shop, the support is incredible.
On behalf of Smiles2U, Sarah Collison, Michelle Barry & Michelle Cini), we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their overwhelming support over the last four years.