Rainbows and Smiles is a community-based, charitable foundation dedicated to providing emotional, social, and financial support to children diagnosed with cancer or a life-threatening illness, and their families and caregivers.
The organisation is inspired by the life of Jed Brady Suckling, son of Bonita Suckling, the founder. Jed bravely battled a brain cancer called Anaplastic Astrocytoma for more than three years. He was a little boy who loved giving gifts, and one of his greatest joys was to make his friends smile while they were in hospital being treated. Rainbows and Smiles was inspired by Jed’s love language of giving gifts and was established in 2009.
Today, volunteers in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Pietermaritzburg, and Durban continue the mission of Rainbows and Smiles across those cities and have provided support to hundreds of children and their families.
The foundation works with healthcare professionals at various treatment centres to assist where they can with complementary support and care for child cancer warriors and their families. Wherever possible, they collaborate and communicate with other like-minded local and global organisations to ease the burden of childhood cancer on families.
Children diagnosed with cancer are referred to Rainbows and Smiles through word of mouth, social media, doctors, or the hospital treatment centres. After meeting the children and their families, different types of support are provided throughout the child’s treatment. The sad reality of childhood cancer is that some children will not survive it, and we work with organisations in the community to promote professional counselling for children and their families and caregivers in the case that a child’s illness is terminal, or when one of our child heroes dies