FAQs

Below are some frequently asked questions about Case For Smiles and our work. If you have additional questions please contact your local chapter or email melissa@caseforsmiles.org.

What is the mission of Ryan's Case for Smiles?

Ryan’s Case for Smiles is one the few volunteer organizations solely dedicated to helping kids feel better to heal better. While other great organizations focus on research and finding a cure, we work to improve the quality of life of children and their families as they undergo treatment. Our volunteers deliver more than 200,000 bright, cheerful pillowcases each year to children and their families in over 330 hospitals throughout our 120 chapters. We are also developing one of the first initiatives to address pediatric medical post-traumatic stress.

PTSD and Families

A hospital experience can be terrifying for both a child and his or her family. Our founder Cindy and her husband, Gavin Kerr, know just how terrifying the experience was for their son Ryan, their girls and for each of them. Like many families who experience traumatic health care experiences, they suffer from symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) that challenge them to this day. They are not alone!

  • 49% of adolescents develop mild to severe symptoms of PTS following cancer treatment
  • 30% of young hospital patients develop severe PTS symptoms following a serious illness
  • 42% of mothers of cancer patients develop symptoms of PTS post treatment
  • 25% of siblings develop moderate to severe symptoms of PTS

In addition to providing bright, colorful pillowcases to give hospitalized children an emotional boost, we are partnering with the Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress to develop resources and tools to help entire families better understand and cope with the difficult experience.

How do you help address Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Alongside the 200,000 bright, child-friendly pillowcases delivered each year is an insert card that alerts parents to the risks of PTSD and directs them to internet resources for self-assessment, referrals and evidence based coping tools.

Do you accept cash donations?

We prefer checks, which can be made payable to Case for Smiles. You can also click here to support our mission and Donate Online. It’s easy and secure.

Where do I send the check made out to Case for Smiles?

Checks can be given to your Regional Coordinator or mailed directly to:
Case for Smiles
c/o Cheryl Ferraioli
295 E.Swedesford Road #396
Wayne, PA 19087

What can I donate other than fabric?
  • Unscented detergent
  • Ziploc plastic bags: 1 quart size (each pillowcase smile is delivered in its own Ziploc bag)
  • Rotary blades and mats
  • Irons- please check with your local coordinator
  • SHOUT Color Catchers
  • Stocks or bonds
  • In-kind donations that can be used in our fundraising efforts such as gift cards, time-shares or items for raffle baskets
  • Monetary donations are also welcomed! It currently costs about $11.00 to make a pillowcase.
  • Donations can easily and securely be made online
Can I deliver the pillowcases myself?

No. The hospitals each have standards we must follow, especially due to the children’s low immunity while under treatment. Additionally, many facilities have limited storage and we deliver based on available space.

How do I wash the pillowcases?
  • Most chapters suggest the use of an unscented detergent in cold water with no fabric softener.
  • Tampa hospitals require the pillowcases to be washed in vinegar and water
  • Dry the case – no scented dryer sheets
  • Iron pillowcase and place in a Ziploc plastic bag
Is it okay to put a note in the pillowcase?

Yes, a personal note may be inserted (no pins) into the plastic Ziploc bag. Personal notes cannot be of a religious nature.

Do you accept seasonal pillowcases?

Yes, the children love them. In fact, during Halloween, we have seen the children use their pillowcases as Trick or Treat bags. Please note seasonal bags cannot be of a religious nature or theme.  Check with local coordinator for local hospitals specific requirements.

Can I receive a tax credit for my donations?

Yes. We are a charitable, 501(c)3 organization. Provide your Regional Coordinator with your name, mailing address and number of pillowcases sewn and we will provide a letter reflecting your donation.  Tax donation letters can also be provided for other in-kind, monetary,  or stock donations.

All requests must be received by January 15th.

My school/church group,/youth group wants to HOST an event, HOW and what do we do to get this going?

This PDF GUIDE contains some general guidelines to get you started organizing a sewing event for your local organization.  Want to do something other than sew? Host a fundraiser such as a PJ Day, Miles of Smiles Fun Run, Bake Sale or  Bingo Night.  Additional ideas can be found in our Get Involved section. 

What kind of fabric can I use to sew pillowcases?
  • Fabric needs to be 100% cotton. Please do not use fabric that has glitter.
  • Remember to use fun, colorful novelty prints!
  • Check with local coordinator for local hospitals specific requirements for example: often time hospitals don’t allow flannel, RED pillowcases tend to bleed and some hospitals do not accept seasonal pillowcases.
  • We do not accept ‘No-sew pillowcases’. See PDF GUIDE for full list of guidelines.
What pattern can I use to sew pillowcases?

Hospitals use standard size pillowcases (20 x 26 inches)
Choose a bright and colorful fabric style:

  • Border: ¹⁄³ of a yard of fabric cut into a strip: 10 ½ inches by 40 ½ inches
  • Case: ¾ of a yard: 26 ½ inches by 40 ½ inches
  • Please see the PDF GUIDE for detailed instructions