Ryan’s Case for Smiles Makes Milestone Delivery to Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida

New Facility Ribbon-Cutting and Open House Set for Jan. 12

(Fort Myers, Fla. – Jan. 9, 2017) --- Ryan’s Case For Smiles, Fort Myers Chapter, will make another delivery of child-appealing pillowcases to the young patients of Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida on Tuesday, Jan. 17. This event marks a milestone in the nonprofit’s history, delivering 15,000 pillowcases since its founding in 2009 to the children’s hospital and other local organizations.

Ryan’s Case for Smiles’ mission is to enable children with cancer and other life-changing illnesses, as well as their families, to cope with their illness, while building resiliency to thrive in the future. In short, helping patients feel better to heal better.

“A hospital stay can be a terrifying experience for a child” commented Evelyn Melchiorre, local CFS coordinator. “It’s so terrifying that 20% of children who survive cancer meet the full clinical diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). That’s a similar rate of PTSD to all U.S. military veterans since the Vietnam War. The promising news is research shows trauma can be minimized and outcomes can be improved through experiences that reduce stress. That’s where Case for Smiles comes in.”

The colorful, home-made pillowcases will give the children an emotional boost and remind them they are not defined by their illness. While seemingly simple, a pillowcase provides seven proven stress relievers that enhance the well-being of the children and their families: comfort, play, choice, familiarity, expression, connection and hope. With improved emotional well-being, the children are more likely to regain their health faster.

Today, each of the pillowcases contains an insert card that alerts parents to the risk of PTSD and directs them to internet resources for self-assessment, referrals, and evidence-based coping tools. For more information, visit CaseForSmiles.org.

About Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida

Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is the only acute care children’s hospital between Tampa and Miami. Part of Lee Health, the children’s hospital opened in 1994 within HealthPark Medical Center. In 2012, the hospital was renamed Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida after B. Thomas Golisano’s generous donation to the capital campaign to build a new, state-of-the-art facility. Lee Health Foundation, the primary fundraising entity for Golisano Children’s Hospital, is nearing the end of the capital campaign to raise $100 million to build and equip the new, 300,000-square-foot, 128-bed Golisano Children’s Hospital, which is set to open in the spring of 2017. For more information, visit www.GolisanoChildrensSWFL.org.

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