Mimi’s Happy Cart just got a little happier.
The charitable initiative, aimed at bringing art supplies, games and activities to sick children at Cayman Islands Hospital, was granted non-profit status.
The announcement comes just in time for the 6th birthday of cancer survivor Skylar May Ebanks, also known as Mimi, on Friday, 31 May.
Mimi’s parents, Mechon and Tommy Ebanks, launched the cart last year, inspired by a similar initiative at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
As a baby, Mimi underwent two brain surgeries and six rounds of chemotherapy at St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee. There, a ‘happy cart’ makes the rounds several nights a week to bring crayons, playdough and other surprises to young patients.
The Ebanks family wanted to share that same joy with children in Cayman. Now, with non-profit status, Mechon Ebanks said it will be a little easier to share the love.
“As a non-profit organisation now, we are more free to raise funds and donations to solely benefit the children at [Cayman Islands Hospital],” Ebanks said.
“The mission of our non-profit organisation is pretty much to provide assistance and support to families with critically ill children.”
Since Mimi’s Happy Cart launched in June 2018, Ebanks says the programme has received overwhelming support. A wide range of organisations, from the Department of Planning to Cayman’s Grand Autoshowoff, donated to the cause throughout the year.
The types of donations the organisation could receive were limited until now, however. Ebanks said Mimi’s Happy Cart was not able to receive cash donations before achieving non-profit status, so contributions had to come in the form of toys and other items.
With expanded capabilities, the Ebanks family is now dreaming up new possibilities for the charity. Ebanks hopes to move beyond toys and to start offering other services to families of sick children.
She said one of the biggest constraints for such families is finding time to keep up with day-to-day demands, like household chores. She mentioned one example from her own experience, in which a sports team came and mowed the family’s lawn. The gesture was a welcome relief for the family.
Simple things like bringing a cup of coffee to tired parent at the hospital can go a long way. She hopes volunteers will step up to offer valuable services and time to families.
“We’d like to open avenues for the community to be involved,” Ebanks said.
As for Mimi, the young survivor has came a long way. She is now enjoying her first year at Lighthouse School and recently began walking without the need for a walker. On sports day, Mimi was able to lead her team on the field, Ebanks said.
For her birthday, Mimi and her parents will visit the Cayman Islands Hospital paediatric ward to celebrate their recent milestones and to share the love with others.
To donate to Mimi’s Happy Cart, contact 925-5940 or email [email protected]