TAMPA (FOX 13) - An army of volunteers from Kohl's department store is cheering up children at Tampa General Hospital. They're handing out pillowcases to cheer up sick children.
"They're going through a rough time in their life and I really feel that this is something that is going to brighten their life," said Darlene Jones, a Kohl's employee.
The volunteers are helping a local non-profit organization called Ryan's Cases for Smiles. They have handed out more than one million pillow cases in 11 years to children in the hospital.
"This is some way that they can have something that is truly theirs that they can take home," explained Jamie Hendrickx with Ryan's Cases for Smiles.
Jamie's husband Chris works for the organization too. "If we can do anything to brighten up a child's day and just make one day better, it’s going to help them quite a bit."
The group sews and writes words of encouragement.
Chris Hendrickx has a very special connection with these children. He had cancer a few years ago.
"I remember going through all my treatment. Any little thing that anybody would do would just mean the world to me." Chris said.
Flo Bradbury's 2-year-old granddaughter was diagnosed with cancer at 10 months old. "So many people gave to her and did for her when she was in the hospital being treated, so this is my way of giving back."
The effort means so much to the parents too.
"I think it is very sweet," said Lauren Dalton, whose son Hunter is in the hospital. “I think it made his day better.”
The group visits nine local hospitals and hands out more than 50,000 pillow cases a year.
"If we can make kids feel better, then they will heal better," Jamie offered.
LINK: For more information, go to: http://caseforsmiles.org/tampa-bay/