Smile-A-Mile staff, friends and families of pediatric cancer patients gathered March 16 to cut the ribbon on the organization’s first building that is all its own.
The new facility, which will continue to serve pediatric cancer patients, survivors and their families, first opened Feb. 6 and is located in Birmingham’s Parkside District just blocks away from Children’s of Alabama.
“Welcome to Smile-A-Mile Place – a place where we will fulfill our mission to provide hope for the childhood cancer journey,” said SAM Executive Director Bruce Hooper. “Less than a year ago, we stood in this very spot preparing to break ground and launch an exciting new chapter for Smile-A-Mile. We knew at the time we were embarking down an extraordinary path but we had no idea the ways our entire organization would evolve over the next 12 months.”
The project was completed by contractor B.L. Harbert and design firm Cohen Carnaggio Reynolds and has been paired with an organization rebranding aided by Scout Branding.
“Over the past year, as we had the opportunity to tell our story, it became apparent it was the perfect time to explore ways to fine-tune our brand to better describe our full scope of work. Now, we are ‘Smile-A-Mile’ and our logo got a revamp as you can see here,” Hooper said.
Thirty years ago, when the organization originated as Camp Smile-A-Mile, the programming included summer camp sessions for patients. Along the way, SAM’s programming grew in response to the growing needs of the children and families served. SAM now incorporates year-round programs, including a hospital outreach program, family activities, Beyond Camp for adult survivors of childhood cancer, scholarship programs, bereavement programming and more.
“I always say the magic of what we do is our programs’ ability to bring people together who have faced obstacles that no one should ever have to endure. Our families are able to understand and be there for each other at a time when they need it most. There is something very powerful about that. Smile-A-Mile Place will be the home that welcomes these families and provides hope for their journey,” Hooper said.
Following the ceremony, guests were invited to tour Smile-A-Mile Place and enjoy food provided by Jim ‘N Nicks.