|Team Happy Wheels is a fundraising program designed for people from all areas of life with a heart for sick children. We are a group of walkers and runners spreading the word about Happy Wheels, whose mission is to put smiles on the faces of hospitalized children in South Carolina.
What Is Happy Wheels?
Each week at children’s hospitals in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville, volunteers push a large surgical cart positively loaded with new toys and books around the hospital’s inpatient floors, letting each child pick his or her favorite. Each child receives one new book or toy each week for as long as they stay in the hospital. The funds to keep the cart stocked are donated from individuals and businesses. The cart offers a free gift to all the children whose maladies include cancer, heart and lung diseases and endless other issues. The children wear bright smiles and happy faces as the cart appears and some of them jump off their beds and run to the cart in a burst of enthusiasm to pick their Happy Wheels gift.
How Things Got Started:
Because she wanted to bring joy into children’s lives, Larissa Allison of Murrells Inlet started a program named “Happy Wheels” at MUSC’s Children’s Hospital in Charleston, SC in the spring of 1999. Larissa said: “When the idea was placed upon my heart, the program quickly sprang to life.” In an interview, Larissa explained how it all came about: “One day my attention was diverted to a TV interview with a little boy who had leukemia but still wanted to help others through volunteer work. That was the turning point for me.”
Cal Harrellson of Pawleys Island talked freely in a telephone interview about the children’s reactions when toy-time came around. He described scenes that he witnessed at the hospital when the cart made its appearance. “The cart is coming, the cart is coming,” chimed the children. He said. “It brings mixed emotions. It’s very touching to watch a child with no hair making his or her way to the cart in their mother’s arms. It is a bright spot during a bad time of their lives. The doctors and nurses move quietly out of the way when they see the cart moving toward the rooms.”
Happy Wheels, Columbia began in December of 2009 and Greenville in February of 2012. Collectively, Happy Wheels visits more approximately 200 children each week. For more information and the rest of the story, please visit us online at HappyWheelsInc.org.