Need a smile? Strum a ukulele.
As comedian/singer Scout Durwood could melodically confirm, “Sad songs are inappropriate when you sing them on the ukulele.”
That makes the small instruments not only appropriate for tip-toeing through the tulips but also for eliciting smiles from young patients in the cancer ward.
“Ukuleles are fun for all ages, just envision young patients and parents strumming a tune on their brand-new bright orange ukulele, filling the hospital hallways with light-hearted strums and laughter,” said Annette Leslie.
In 2010, she founded the Carson Leslie Foundation in memory of her son, who lost his battle with brain cancer that year and asked her to “help the next kid.”
The foundation has offered young cancer patients highly-anticipated red-carpet outings supported by the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Cowboys and patient parties in Carson’s Corner, the teen room the foundation built on the oncology floor at Children’s Health, Dallas.
But the pandemic required a new approach – Hearts of GOLD hootenannies.
At least once a month, CLF delivers a hootenanny of surprises to the hospital room of each child battling cancer at Children’s Health, Leslie said. “It’s absolute joy to hand out smiles and spread a little joy to some really sick kids who don’t have much to smile about.”
Hootenanny partners include SMU fraternities and sororities, The Covenant School of Dallas, and National Charity League, plus volunteers from Greenhill School, Shelton, Episcopal School of Dallas, Toys Unique, private law firms, real-estate companies, Sugar Social, Young Men Service League, and the You’ve Got Mail Club at Ursuline Academy.
Texas-themed March gifts included cowboy hats. April will bring paint-your-own Easter Bunny cookies and giant stuffed Easter bunnies.
The orange instruments arrived in February with heart-shaped cookies. As George Strait might croon, “I got a little ukulele, let me sing you a song.”
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