A label you never want attached to your child, but that’s where we found ourselves this past spring. We discovered my daughter needed an invasive surgery to rectify a scoliosis curve that had gone too far.
Being a member of the E412 Consulting team — a firm dedicated to helping non-profit organizations thrive simply, intentionally, and sustainably — I’m used to helping and supporting nonprofits, not the other way around. However, during this chapter of our life, we found ourselves on the receiving end of these organizations dedicated to pediatric patients and their families.
Caitlin Hornung found joy and a positive attitude in creating art. When her years of fighting cancer came to an unfortunate end, her mother wanted to bring her smile to other ill and hurt children in her memory. Seventeen years later, after a nerve-wracking sedated MRI, my girl received a nice surprise from Caitlin’s Smiles: a bag with art activities, books, and a handmade card in honor of Caitlin.
After Eli Garrett lost his battle with cancer at just 3 years old, Easter for Eli was created in his honor. Eli is remembered each year through Easter baskets presented to kids stuck in the hospital over the holiday. This Easter Sunday, we found ourselves stuck in the ICU, but my post-surgery, pain-filled, pre-teen daughter had a moment of joy when she woke to a basket containing her first “real” makeup, fun socks, a journal, candy, and so many other treats.
Ronald McDonald House Charities is widely known, but their impact can’t be truly felt unless you’re on the receiving end. A complication during my daughter’s first procedure meant another unexpected surgery a week later and an extended hospital stay. Suddenly, my husband and I were scrambling to find a place for him to call home since our AirBNB didn’t have any further availability.
In stepped the Ronald McDonald House. Not only were we welcomed into a clean room with a warm shower, they also provided boxed-to-go meals made by local chefs and restaurants; breakfast, snacks, cold drinks, and hot beverages; unlimited wifi; and toiletries, including, in the COVID-era, hand sanitizer.
Most importantly, the Ronald McDonald House provided us peace of mind. We didn’t have to worry about how much it was all going to cost or what would happen if we had to stay longer. With the house visible from my daughter’s ICU room window, there was no unfamiliar drive or long walks after dark in a dangerous part of the city. We could walk across the parking lot, have a shower, grab some lunch, and be back within an hour. It brought my daughter comfort to know, even though mom was in the room with her, dad was only a few hundred feet away.
And these were only the organizations we knew by name. We saw the impact of other foundations and volunteers dedicated to bringing joy and comfort to kids in a time of need: a hand-sewn pillowcase covered in butterflies, a fresh book selected off a cart of hundreds, hand painted jungle murals on the cafe walls, and a joyful planetary-themed installation hung from the atrium ceiling.
This. This is why I enjoy working with NPOs: their mission and passion to bring positive change to people — some through art and gifts, some through services, some through comfort and peace of mind. Their impact has a ripple effect in our world, one that I’ve now felt first hand over and over again.
If you are part of a non-profit organization, thank you. Thank you for dedicating your time and energy to making the world a little better.
As a small, but never enough, token of our appreciation here at E412 Consulting, we would be honored to provide you with a 30-minute free consult to discuss challenges you or your organization are facing: https://e412consulting.as.me/connect30
Caitlin’s Smile: https://www.caitlins-smiles.org/
Easter for Eli: https://easterforeli.com/
Rebekah Peluszak is a designer, illustrator, and mental health advocate. For E412 clients, she specializes in visual branding, marketing collateral design, and website and social media audits. Serving previously as a leader, an employee, and a volunteer in the nonprofit sector, Rebekah has gained valuable insights into assisting organizations looking to make the world a better place. Her hope with each E412 client is to shine a light on the importance of the visual impression their organization gives the world.