Come to “Pillowcases for a Cause”- Friday, August 3, 2018- FREE Event with Instruction Provided

Several times in the past, Mission Hospital’s Volunteer Engagement Team has hosted an event in support of Ryan’s Case for Smiles, Miles of Pillowcase Smiles campaign. One of our very own volunteers, Wendy Klemann, is very active in this organization. All of the pillowcases from our Western North Carolina Chapter of Ryan’s Case for Smiles, bring smiles all year long, to pediatric patients fighting serious illnesses and their siblings at Mission Children’s Hospital. On August 3rd, we will be sewing even more miles of smiles as we will be hosting a summer pillowcase sewing day!

You are invited for a drop-in sewing event:

When?: Friday, August 3, 2018, from 9:00am to 6:00pm (drop-in; 1 case takes less than 1 hour to produce)

Where?: Mission Hospital in Asheville, NC: St. Joseph’s Campus, 2nd Floor in the Quality Room (just outside the cafeteria)

Doing What?: Sewing brightly colored, child-friendly pillowcases for PEDS patients and their siblings.

Instruction: This pattern is very simple to make, and no sewing experience is required, just a desire to bring a smile to a child! Several experienced sewers will be around to help teach. Nancy Critcher-White will be presenting a brief tutorial that will be recorded for any home sewers that would like to contribute to the cause on an ongoing basis.

Multiple sewing machines will be available and ongoing assistance will be provided. If you would like to bring your own sewing machine you are more than welcome to do so.

We will have some fabric available, but if you would like to bring your own or pick out your own fabric, you will need a kid-friendly fabric, 100% cotton. Each pillowcase requires ¾ yard for the body of the case and 1/3 yard for a coordinating band at the top. Walmart and JoAnn have so many cute children’s fabrics, reasonably priced. Holiday prints, (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas) are all perfectly fine.

ryan's case for smiles

To learn more about Ryan’s Case for Smiles, check out their website at  Not only does this organization provide pillowcases for children, but it provides resources and support for parents, caregivers and healthcare workers as well.

Ryan’s Case for Smiles is one of the few nonprofits helping children cope with the treatment of cancer and serious illnesses. Donate and learn how to help now!

When the CEO Gives You a Life Size Santa, You Say, Thank You

ENT 630 Wk 8-Reactions to It’s a Jungle in There

This week as I close the final chapter of Steven Schussler’s It’s a Jungle in There, I am reminded of the daily work of my teams. In my health system, I have the privilege of leading three great teams. Two of whom are directly related to this week’s reading: Volunteer Engagement Team and our Rathbun Hospitality House. In Schussler’s final two chapters he speaks about social responsibility and philanthropy, a primary part of my weekly work life.

This week the HR team that I lead hosted about 90 team members from across our health system for a “great place to work and practice” retreat. The retreat was amazing, but that’s not the story I’m telling today. About thirty minutes before the retreat I received a text from the Senior Vice President to whom I report (my boss’s boss) saying that our CEO, who happened to be our first guest speaker of the day, was bringing a “Giant Santa” to give to my team at the Rathbun House. After the CEO spoke and interacted with team members at the retreat, one of my team members walked with him to his car and transferred the nearly 5-foot elvish beast into my VW wagon. Our CEO, sent this lovely creature to our Rathbun House because he knew it would bring great joy to those who enter Rathbun during the holiday season.

You see, Rathbun is a refuge in the woods, just a little over a mile from the hospital where families in medical crisis, who travel from outside our home county, can stay up to 21 days free of charge (with the proper care management referral). Our Hospitality house is funded through philanthropic dollars and primarily staffed with volunteers.

The Santa was sent to bring a smile to the faces of those who come through the doors. To our guests who are often fatigued, fragile, or frightened. A volunteer who had been decorating the window boxes and hanging wreathes walked in and said, “wow, we are big-time now, that looks like something that would be in a resort.” By the time I left for the day, volunteers, staff, and guests were having their pictures made with the happy new Santa. And the most impressive thing to everyone was that the CEO of our 12,000-employee company had remembered our department when acquiring such a cheerful gift.

I am privileged that my daily work can very quickly be linked to a more significant purpose: The health, healing, and care of those that we serve. For companies or individuals who can’t make such an immediate connection, volunteerism and philanthropy are fantastic ways to stay connected to a larger purpose and to develop corporate communities (see #14 of the linked article). Additionally, Coppy Holzman, a writer for Forbes and Entrepreneur says there are four big ways your company can benefit from giving back:

  1. Builds respect & reputation in the community
  2. Makes the community a better place
  3. Employees respect leaders who give-back
  4. Make connections; build network

And when you, your team, or your company decide to give-back through your time or dollars, look no further than your own community.


 “No one is useless in the world who lightens the burden of another.”

-Charles Dickens (p.197)