Good Cause: Send A Smile Today, cards for cancer patients
By Cathy Janek For Sun-Times Media July 7, 2014 3:56PM
Courtesy of Kim Whitehouse
How To Help
For guidelines on how to make handmade cards or to donate money, store brought cards, envelopes or stamps, go to https://sendasmiletoday.org. Donations may be mailed to Send A Smile Today, 3900 Gabrielle Lane, 9040 Aurora, IL 60598.
Updated: July 7, 2014 4:22PM
Sometimes the littlest things can have the greatest impact.
For most of 2011, Aurora resident Kim Whitehouse battled breast cancer. Over the course of eight months, she faced several surgeries along with radiation and chemotherapy.
At the conclusion of her treatment and as Whitehouse began to feel healthier and stronger, she felt ???an urge and a passion??? to help others in treatment for cancer.
???When I was going through treatment, the one thing that stood out to me and helped me was when I got a card in the mail,??? Whitehouse said.
After one particularly difficult day, Whitehouse went to the mailbox and retrieved a card.
???It completely uplifted my day,??? she said.
Whitehouse set the card in a prominent spot.
???Each time I walked by it, I was cheered up,??? she added.
???It made me feel loved and not forgotten. To get a card showed me that someone took time out of their day to let me know they were thinking of me.???
When Whitehouse was diagnosed with cancer, friends and neighbors banned together and formed Kim???s Crew as a way to stay connected and offer her support during her treatment, according to neighbor and Send a Smile Today board member Lisa Newman.
???We would go over to her house on the days she had treatment and decorate her front yard with purple balloons and flowers,??? she said.
???Kim showed a lot of strength and courage during her battle with cancer, and it was our way to let her know that she was in our thoughts,??? Newman added.
Inspired to pay it forward and give others going through cancer treatment support, Whitehouse founded Send A Smile Today in May 2013 ??? aptly named by her daughter.
Send A Smile Today was Whitehouse???s vision, and she did all the groundwork to get it started, Newman said.
When people are going through a difficult time, it is nice for them to know that others are thinking of them, she said.
Beginning July 1, Whitehouse, who also serves as the foundation???s president, launched a website that allows people to sign up others going through cancer treatment to receive one, three, six or 12 cards of encouragement at no cost.
???Individuals will have the option to renew the subscription or cancel at any time,??? Whitehouse said.
Neighborhood groups and church groups will make the cards.
???My daughter???s Girl Scout troop had a card-making event,??? Newman said.
???People can help by making cards or donating stamps.???
Send a Smile Today recently was selected one of 168 semifinalists of 750 entries in the LIVESTRONG Foundation???s inaugural Big C competition. The competition???s goal is to generate innovate ideas to improve the quality of life for the more than 32 million people worldwide living with cancer.
Whitehouse said her organization is unique because, while others raise money to find a cure for cancer, give trips to treatment or donate wigs, the sole purpose of her organization is to provide hope, love and support to those going through cancer treatment.
Already Whitehouse has received a response from an individual going through cancer treatment letting her know much the card meant to them, Newman said.