As you travel through parenthood, you might become more familiar with a local hospital’s Emergency Department than you’d like. And, more often than not, when an accident or an emergency happens, you will turn up totally unprepared! But one special North Shore Mum and her team are working hard to make sure that visit to the hospital isn’t a scary one for your kids.
Just like most of us, Michelle Key, Michelle Barry and Sarah Collison are North Shore Mums who have first-hand experience at the Emergency Department – so they know exactly how worrying those trips can be.
Inspired by their experiences, three years ago the charitable trio decided to help families who had been through the same fearful wait in bleak, boring hospital waiting rooms and wards, and created Smiles2U.
What is Smiles2U?
The group works together with donors to create and pack Smiles bags, which are packed full of goodies to entertain and comfort sick children, and as well as put together care packs for parents and carers. All the bags have been carefully put together with items to comfort and care for patients going through a very challenging time in their lives, and all items that go into these packs are new and have been sourced through donations and company support.
So where you might have headed to hospital with nothing to distract your upset children, now, thanks to the hard work of these incredible ladies, scared families can be met with brightly-coloured Smiles bags full of awesome activity packs and items like activity books, crayons, textas, toys, stickers, craft, reading books and games to keep spirits up.
And for parents and carers, it’s a terrible feeling, sitting in hospital and not being able to brush your teeth or wipe your face with a wet wipe or have a cup of tea to refresh your energy. But the ladies haven’t forgotten those who sit by a child’s bed (sometimes for long, frightening hours). They’ve put together an incredible 24hr emergency pack filled with toiletries and snacks to keep tired parents going.
Who does Smiles2U work with?
With the recent additions of Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick and Westmead Children’s Hospital, Smiles2U now supports seven hospitals:
- Hornsby Hospital
- Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards
- Sydney Adventist Hospital
- Ryde Hospital
- WISE Specialist Emergency Clinic
- Westmead Children’s Hospital
- Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick
How does it work?
Many hours of volunteering from the ladies goes into packing, sorting, collecting and sourcing donations for the care packs that they put together. They ensure that children who come through the doors of Emergency don’t go without a care pack and walks out with a smile on their face.
What’s next for Smiles2U?
Their latest initiative is their Cancer Care pack for ladies who are going through chemo treatment in hospital. This new care pack was launched a few months ago at the SAN hospital’s Day Infusion Unit and most recently at Macquarie University Hospital’s Oncology Day Ward. Months of research by the ladies went in to create this comfort pack, the items include a mindfulness book, bath bomb, hand cream, nail polish, candle, chocolates, affirmation cards, pens, breast care pillow, lip balm, quease-ease lollies and a notebook.
How you can help
If you’d like to support Smiles2U, you can do so by:
- Attend Festival on the Green at St Ives Village Green this Sunday and pop to the North Shore Mums tent where Fairy La La Land will be doing face painting. It’s $5 per person, and all profits are being donated to Smiles2U.
- Donate some money, so they can continue to purchase items for the bags. Donate via PayPal to email [email protected]
- Head to their Facebook page – North Shore Mums Smiles2U and send them a message.
- Send them an email at [email protected]
- Head to their website