I have been involved with Smile A Mile as a board member for the past 4 years, and I cannot say enough wonderful things about SAM. As a former pediatrician at Children’s Hospital, I saw firsthand how hard the diagnosis of pediatric cancer can be for children and their families. These patients faced the challenges of pain, needles, fear, nausea, and exhaustion daily, and the one thing that brought a smile to their faces was Smile-A-Mile. The children’s faces would light up when they saw a SAM staff member or talked about their experiences at one of SAM’s camps.
Today, these programs have expanded to include weekly hospital activities for the kids, visits to the Hematology/Oncology Clinic, and community programs across the state of Alabama. Now, I see children smiling at camp and at SAM Place who would not otherwise be smiling. Through Smile-A-Mile, these children find other kids who understand what they are going through, and their parents and siblings do as well. It is a support group made up of the kindest, most caring and supportive group of staff and volunteers that I have ever had the blessing of knowing. I find comfort knowing that these programs are offered – free of charge! – to Alabama families battling pediatric cancer. Every single day SAM is thinking of new ways to help and support these children, and I am honored to be a part of such a caring and meaningful organization. This is my SAM story, and it will endure as Smile-A-Mile continues to make a positive difference in the lives of our children.