Smile-A-Mile’s regional programming seeks to meet families dealing with cancer in their own community. Over 90% of children diagnosed with cancer in our state are treated at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham. Children who live in all four corners of our state travel back and forth to Birmingham for treatment every week. Whether it be 196 miles from Dothan or 4.6 miles from Homewood, our regional program takes Smile-A-Mile programming into the communities where our families live in order to help them create a community of survivors and a support system within their region. Currently, we have over 40 families from the 10 counties which comprise the Wiregrass.
Smile-A-Mile partners with local attractions to host events. For the past few years, one of the regional outreach events is to the National Peanut Festival for the SAM families in the Wiregrass Region. This event has become a highlight for our Wiregrass families who are treated to a private dinner, VIP passes, and a VIP treatment. This past year we had 58 participants join us for an amazing night at the festival.
In addition to the National Peanut Festival experience as part of our regional programming, we would ask that Wiregrass RC&D fund summer camping for the 40 families from the Wiregrass region at Camp Smile-A-Mile on Lake Martin.
Our summer camping experience is the foundation for SAM families. In 1985, Smile-A-Mile began as a one-week summer camp for children in cancer treatment. Our program has grown to include six summer sessions, offering camps to every member of an oncology patient’s family.