Adults looking at a box

Valley Student Helps Make Blank a Little Brighter


Valley senior Katelyn Cinnamon presented five iPads, with plans to add one more, to staff of the Blank Children’s Hospital’s Pediatrict Hematology/Oncology Clinic.

Patients in the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic at Blank Children’s Hospital will be a bit more comfortable thanks to fundraising efforts by  Valley senior Katelyn Cinnamon. She presented the staff of the clinic with five iPads and plans to add one more to make sure each exam room at the clinic has ability for kids to learn and play during their stay.

“The iPad is a tool we use that makes their treatment easier to endure,” said Dr. Wendy Woods-Swafford, a pediatric oncologist at the clinic. “This gives more of them an opportunity to be distracted, so it makes their clinic stay seem less time; it makes painful procedures seem less painful. It’s an incredible gift for us and we are ecstatic to receive it.”

Cinnamon’s efforts began in the spring, with the idea to raise $10,000 for children’s cancer. Some of the money will be used to send kids to camp through the Children’s Cancer Connection, but she wanted to something more for the kids at Blank. She met with the clinic’s social workers to come up with ideas of what they might need.

“The clinic only has one iPad that goes back and forth between the floor and the clinic,” said Cinnamon. “So if they do get to use it, it’s not for very long. This way, there is one for each exam room, so every kid who walks in the door will get to use an iPad.”

Thanks to some generous donors and hard work organizing a car wash, community nights at local restaurants and selling coupon books, Cinnamon has raised almost $4,000. She even recruited students at Des Moines Un iversity and one of her friends, Casey Drake, to help in the efforts. Drake is a former Lincoln High School student who now attends classes at DMACC as he works towards a career in pediatric oncology.

“Our goal is not only to raise $10,000, but to get as many people involved as we can to truly make it a community effort,” Cinnamon added. “These kids are some of the strongest, bravest, most inspiring kids that I have ever met and I will do anything I can to make a difference and raise awareness for childhood cancer.”

If you would like to help Cinnamon’s efforts, donations can be submitted through the Children’s Cancer Connection.