Smartways Logistics, a medical courier company, has brought smiles to the faces of thousands of seriously ill kids by delivering The Kids’ Cancer Project’s teddy bears to 33 hospitals on the eastern seaboard at no cost.
As a specialist medical and healthcare logistics company, Smartways' drivers and staff have always known their work makes a difference. After all, they are delivering essential items such as heart valves, pacemakers, human tissue, bone grafts, replacement hips, knees and much more to hospitals every day.
But when the Smartways team generously offered their service, free of charge, to The Kids’ Cancer Project and began delivering teddies from the charity’s Bear Program to children’s hospitals, their engagement with their work stepped up a notch.
You see, the Smartways team is not just delivering teddy bears that have been generously donated anonymously by members of the public. They’re giving children who are in pain, who are feeling endlessly ill and spending all day every day on medication and being poked and prodded with needles, a reason to smile.
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Parents report that their seriously ill children smile for the first time in a long time when they receive their cuddly gift. The young patients focus on their bear day after day to get them through difficult times.
“She loved it, and she was touching it all day long,” said mum Serina, who tragically lost her baby daughter Amelia after a battle with cancer. “Sometimes toys are the last thing you remember to pack when you’re heading off for a hospital stay … having that bear in bed with her made everything seem better. I was touched by the generosity of people.”
Dad Paul, who lost his 13-year-old son Kaleb four years after a cancer diagnosis, said, “It’s just an inanimate object, but it gives so much. It’s impossible to have a sad face when you’re giving or receiving a bear.”
‘‘I saw the story of one little girl undergoing cancer treatment who never let her Kids’ Cancer Project bear out of her sight,” said retiree and multiple bear donor Ray Reay. “Sadly, she died, and her parents buried her with the bear in her arms.”
As highly valued supporters of The Kids’ Cancer Project, in the last 18 months the team at Smartways have delivered more than 16,000 bears, saving the charity over $80,000 while putting smiles back on children’s faces.
To put that in perspective; $24,000 funds a gene panel analysis for 40 children with brain tumours, $50,000 funds the cost of research tests for 50 children to see if a new drug is working, $70,000 funds the salary of a childhood cancer research assistant for 12 months, and $100,000 funds the shipment of new cancer treatment drugs to Australia for more than three years.
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Smartways came across the work of The Kids’ Cancer Project when a Smartways driver discussed how he heard about the charity when his son was undergoing treatment for medulloblastoma. Fortunately, young Alex made a good recovery, but the family has never forgotten that The Kids’ Cancer Project is dedicated to funding life-saving research so all children diagnosed can have the same positive outcome as Alex and his family.
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All of us at The Kids’ Cancer Project would like to say a very special thanks to our courier heroes at Smartways for shining a big ray of sunlight into the lives of seriously ill kids and their families.