David’s Blankets of Hope

Via Cindy McLaughlin, Community Relations Liaison of Hospice Care of South Carolina (HCSC):

http://www.hospicecare.net/

Originally published in the Georgetown Times, Friday, August 31, 2012, page 6A, as part of the Hearts That Care column. The following is an excerpt.

By most accounts, David is a typical 8-year-old boy. He’s bashful but expressive. He loves swimming and water parks. His favorite class in school is PE. He takes karate and has earned a purple belt; his goal is to one day be a black belt. Sound familiar? But not-so-typical of other boys his age, David has another pursuit. An extraordinary one. One with a purpose.

Blankets of Hope

It was last year, at the age of 7, when David learned about Lilly, a local 6-year-old girl who was diagnosed with leukemia. David and his mom agreed that hospitals can be a very scary place for children. If she just had something to take with her, it might help ease her fears. Together, they decided to make a soft, snuggly fleece blanket, in a pretty design, just right for a little girl. They searched until they found the perfect material, something Lilly would love. Then they made the first of what would become known as David’s Blankets of Hope.

Once Lilly’s blanket was complete, David earnestly said to his mother, “I think all kids who are sick would like a blanket, Mom.” How can you say “No” to that? Well, you can’t.

100 Blankets by the End of the Year

It takes David 1-2 hours to painstakingly create his blankets. The fleece is selected especially for the child who will receive it, uniquely chosen to reflect their favorite color and characters. There’s Spiderman and Transformers, Disney Princesses and Winnie the Pooh, flowers, puppies, blue waves, and tractors; David makes sure he finds the perfect design for his kids. He includes a poem in a hand colored gift bag, encouraging the little girl or boy to take the blanket “anywhere you go, and remember the love that made it so.”

In the beginning, all materials and supplies to make the blankets were purchased by David’s parents. But as they received word from more and more ailing children, paying for the fleece became increasingly costly. In the time since Lilly’s blanket was delivered to her, a website has been created (http://davidshope.weebly.com), the David’s Blankets of Hope Facebook page has 190 “Likes,”  fundraising events have been held, and David’s classmates at Palmetto Academy of Learning and Success even pitched in to help decorate gift bags. A fall crafts fair to help raise money is also in the works for this caring and compassionate boy.

At first, David didn’t realize just how many children in South Carolina are facing serious illness. It’s something most kids his age never think about: how grateful he is to be well, and how earnestly he wants to help those who aren’t. It was earlier this summer, when David and his mom learned of the pediatric hospice provider Hands of Hope, that the flood of requests for blankets really began.

David decided he wanted to set a goal of making 100 blankets by the end of the year. That’s impressive for an eager young man, especially one busy with school, karate, and just being an 8-year-old boy. But in case you aren’t convinced, this isn’t your average 8-year-old. This is a child who understands it is through giving that we receive the greatest blessings.

Hands of Hope, a Division of HCSC

Through the help of the local hospice staff at HCSC’s Hands of Hope, David is now able to reach out to children who are ill statewide. Requests for blankets keep pouring in from these brave young fighters, and David diligently responds with a soft, warm Blanket of Hope.

Hands of Hope proudly offers comprehensive and compassionate care for infants, children, and adolescents, along with their families, living with life-threatening conditions. For more information, please call 877-747-6562.

How can you help David?

For a little boy whose mission is to bring comfort to terminally ill and ailing kids, the outpouring has been tremendous, but more supplies are needed if he is to reach his goal of 100 blankets for 100 sick children in 2012.

David’s Blankets of Hope is in the process of acquiring 501(c)3 status, but as you may know, that can take some time. Please visit David’s Blankets of Hope to see the list of names of kids he has helped, prayer requests, and plenty of opportunities to contribute to his amazing effort. And for updates on his progress toward making 100 blankets, “Like” David’s Blankets of Hope on Facebook.

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Through the Disaster Relief Fund, Waccamaw Community Foundation serves as the primary point of financial donations for all disaster relief and recovery efforts in Horry, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties.

Tim Whitten

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A native of Alabama, Tim received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Auburn University and a master’s degree in religion from Lenoir-Rhyne University. He brings to WCF a background in grant writing and in disaster recovery most recently serving the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Tim resides in Galivants Ferry with his wife Julie and their four children.

Phillip Anderson

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Phillip Anderson is a Senior Vice President & Senior Lending Officer for Asheville, North Carolina-based HomeTrust Bank, serving the coast of South Carolina. Throughout his 22-year banking career, he has served in commercial banking, trust administration, retail banking, and market leadership roles with mid-size and regional banks in South Carolina and Georgia. He has always embodied the community banking model of building strong local relationships and being active in numerous non-profits and promoting their causes.
 
He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, GA, the Cannon Financial Institute’s Trust School, The Stonier Graduate School of Banking and Wharton Leadership program. He is also a graduate of several Chamber of Commerce Leadership programs over his career.
 
Phillip resides in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, with his wife Mary Beth and daughter Carolina. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and playing golf.

Ellen Barney Sycks

Stewardship & Communications Officer

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614-893-7998

Ellen serves the Foundation as its Stewardship and Communications Officer, responsible for communicating with fund holders on a regular basis and providing advice when needed, particularly around fund development as well as relevant field of interest information.

A native of Hillsboro, Ohio, Ellen provides more than three decades of non-profit leadership experience, focusing on creating major gift and planned giving opportunities to support organizations’ programs, special projects and capital campaigns. Ellen received her B.A. in National Security Policy from The Ohio State University. She lives in Murrells Inlet with her husband Jay and their two cats, Mabel and Murray.

Chris Hanna

Director

Chris Hanna is a Senior Broker Associate with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage. Born and raised in Myrtle Beach, he started in the real estate business in 1993. Chris is a member of the Coastal Carolinas, South Carolina and National Associations of REALTORS and is an active local community member as well, having served on various boards such as the Horry County Zoning Board of Appeals, the Coastal Carolina Athletic Foundation, and Horry County school district Carolina Forest Advisory Board. He is a member of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality and Oceanview Baptist Church. Chris is a graduate of Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach, and he received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Carolina at Coastal Carolina in 1992.

Rick Elliott

Director

Rick Elliott is president of his family business, Elliott Realty, one of the most prominent real estate companies in North Myrtle Beach. As a native of Horry County, he has always made giving back to the community a part of his approach to business. Each guest who stays with Elliott Realty is given the option to add an additional $1 per night to their bill to be donated to the Elliott Realty Charitable Community Fund at Waccamaw Community Foundation, which invests in causes throughout the surrounding community. Rick brings this commitment to community philanthropy to his service on the Waccamaw Community Foundation Board of Directors. He has also served as the chairman of the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce.



Tyler Easterling

Director

Tyler Easterling is a native of Marietta, Georgia and has resided in Georgetown County since moving to the area in 2002. Tyler is the president and COO of The Brandon Agency, an integrated marketing agency headquartered in Myrtle Beach. She is the current board chair for Coastal Montessori Charter School and serves on the boards of Helping Hands of Georgetown and Young Presidents’ Organization Southern 7 Chapter. She is a member of the 2018 Liberty Fellowship class.

Tyler holds an undergraduate degree in Journalism from the University of Mississippi and a Masters of Mass Communication from the University of South Carolina. She is an active member of Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church and enjoys spending time with her husband, Marshall, and two daughters, Julia and Anne Marshall.



Terri DeCenzo

Director

Terri serves as executive director of Women in Philanthropy and Leadership for Coastal Carolina University (WIPL). She is married to Coastal Carolina University President David A. DeCenzo, and when he joined the university in 2002, she became passionately involved with the life of the university, taking an active role in issues relating to student government and NCAA athletics, among others. Previously Terri has served on the boards of the American Red Cross and the Foundation for Georgetown Hospital System and was an adviser to the Safe Families Initiative that established Family Justice Center of Horry and Georgetown Counties. In 2016, Terri was awarded the Order of the Silver Crescent by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. A graduate of St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing and Towson University, she spent most of her career practicing in critical care. The DeCenzo’s have four children: Mark (his wife Jen), Meredith (and her husband Ryan Daley), Gabriella and Natalie; and one beautiful grandson, William Mason Evans.


Executive Director, Women in Philanthropy and Leadership for Coastal Carolina University (WIPL)

Dr. Tracy Bailey

Director

Dr. Tracy Bailey earned a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Language and Literacy at the University of South Carolina in May of 2013. She is a Teaching Associate with Coastal Carolina University teaching Intermediate Literacy Development and Instructional Practices for Early Literacy.

Dr. Bailey began her career in education as a high school English instructor and has worked in both rural and urban educational settings. After realizing the impact professional development and community literacy had on her personal and professional growth, she wanted others to experience this. She is the founder and executive director of Freedom Readers, Inc., a nonprofit company dedicated to promoting literacy. Tracy seeks to instill in teachers, students, and the community at large the belief that every student can learn and every learner has the responsibility to pass on new knowledge to another.

Dr. Bailey earned her BA from The College of Charleston- majoring in English Education- and a Masters in Secondary Education from Coastal Carolina University. She is married to award-winning writer, Issac J. Bailey, and is the mother of two wonderful children, Kyle and Lyric.



Brent Groome

Chair

A 1987 graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, Brent came to the Grand Strand area in 1989. After a 31 year career with HTC (Horry Telephone Cooperative), he retired in 2021.  In addition to his current role with WCF, he also serves as a member of the Board of Commissioners for HGTC. He is also active with his church; serving as a Sunday School teacher and congregational song leader.  He and his wife, Dana, live in the Conway area.

Shawna Mosley-Foster

Service and Operations Officer

shawna@mywcf.org
843-357-4483 x200

Shawna, a native of Jamaica, NY, has more than 15 years of experience working in the hospitality and tourism field. Since relocating to South Carolina in 2004, she spent a few more years working with a local hospitality company before joining WCF’s staff.  While a native New Yorker, Shawna has a rich heritage right here in the Waccamaw area. Her mother was born and raised on Sandy Island, and her father is from Bucksport. She enjoys cooking, stargazing with her family, cruising and once retired….RVing! Shawna and her husband are empty nesters and resides in Myrtle Beach. 

Mike Mancuso

Executive Director

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Mike is a veteran business leader with more than 30 years of experience as an innovative problem solver and change agent for nonprofit, banking and small business organizations. Mike is a skilled economic developer with background in community development, downtown redevelopment, industrial development and strategic planning. His passion is helping Communities and Businesses thrive and grow. Most recently Mike served as the President and CEO of the Triangle East Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Foundation in Johnston County, NC and as Executive Director for the Sustainable Opportunity Development Center, Inc in Salem, OH. Mike and his wife Christine make their home in Little River, SC. They have 3 children and 5 grandchildren living in Charleston, SC, Atlanta, GA, & Austin TX. Mike enjoys boating on the ICW, tinkering in his workshop/garage and spending time with family and friends.