Who is Kelsey?
Kelsey is now a healthy, cancer-free college girl studying social work, human development and family studies. She lends her name, support and presence to this charitable foundation because she knows from experience that difficult days await children with cancer, and she wants to help.
At eleven, she heard her diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia, and spent most of the next year in The Children's Hospital in Denver, where she received chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant from her dad.
"It's important for me," Kelsey writes, "to get our launchers to sick kids in hospitals. I know they desperately need a bit of fun and to be a kid. A hospital is a scary place for a child and the entire family."
While her mother, Pat, remembers terror and exhaustion, Kelsey also remembers boredom inside her sterile environment.
As soon as Kelsey emerged from treatment, she started giving back. Every year since her diagnosis, Kelsey has ridden the Courage Classic, a bicycling fundraiser for The Children's Hospital. She has also been a spokesperson for the Hospital through its ambassador program, chosen to communicate the help available there for children.
What started as a source of amusement, quickly became a fundraising tool and therapeutic aid. The income from the marshmallow launchers is intended to perpetuate plans to help every child with a life-threatening disease.
Pat Bohman, Director
It’s both an honor and my fortune to witness the spirit of children fighting life-threatening diseases. The depth of wisdom, patience, and love these kids have is remarkable. I am committed to remain a part of their lives by giving laughter, smiles, courage and love to them and their families.
About 35 years ago, Pat told me she was going to change the lives of children someday. Since she didn’t know what that might be, she could only dream. Well, the dream has come true. I am honored and privileged to be a part of her life and this dream come true.
Pat and her team have a heartwarming love and commitment for ill children, and it’s a blessing that their experience and compassion helps kids who are fighting for their lives. When I heard the stories, and saw pictures of these dear kids smiling and shooting Marshmallow Launchers, it made me want to be a part of this!
I was fortunate to be working with Pat when Kelsey first returned home from the hospital. I was hooked on that little girl, who melted my heart and showed me what courage was all about. The love, ambition, and motivation of this whole family is contagious. It has been a positive and moving experience to help them put smiles on children's faces.
I have seen children and their families laughing in a cancer unit while they pelt each other with marshmallows. Kelsey’s Kids gives us the opportunity to help children laugh and heal in hospitals across the country.
I feel fortunate to be part of a group of people who are committed to the happiness of children. There are no egos or personal agendas, just an unadulterated desire to alleviate the burdens that families and children who are hospitalized endure. I am proud to count myself among the other ladies of Kelsey’s Kids.
Between the Marshmallow Launchers and Kelsey’s Krates, the Foundation has given thousands of giggles and millions of smiles to children facing life-threatening illnesses. However, there are far more children in need of Kelsey’s Kids than the organization can currently provide for.
The board’s first goal was to raise $40,000 for tooling costs at a Florida medical equipment manufacturer to provide 5,000 sterilizable polycarbonate launchers at an eventual cost of eighty-one cents a piece. This 2011 grant request was aimed directly at putting Kelsey’s Kids on a path to self-sustainment. As of May 2012, 10,000 more Marshmallow Launchers were ordered because of increased demand. Most launchers are purchased and donated, or purchased outright by hospitals.
This progress has taken Kelsey’s Kids from a basement operation that produced 18,000 launchers over the course of 9 years (2001-2010) to one that can produce the same number in a month. All of this was made possible by forming the non-profit Kelsey’s Kids Foundation and accumulating the $40,000 to hire a medical manufacturer to produce the Launchers.
Our long-range goal is to provide scholarships for tutoring and educational supplies for children affected by major medical problems - not only the patient, but also healthy siblings who have been taken from their schools to be near Children’s Hospital as their sister or brother undergoes treatment.
Since 2002, 23,000 launchers have gone to more than 200 hospitals and camps for children with cancer. Many of the launchers were donated to hospitals to introduce the staff to the respiratory tool. We are accumulating a large email list of professionals interested in purchasing more for their hospitals and camps.
This toy offers the potential to raise money for related projects, such as Kelsey’s Krates. As of May 2012, the foundation has donated 540 crates of clean toys suitable for sterile environments. The Bohmans first gave boxes of “clean” toys to two children having bone marrow transplants at Children’s Hospital in 2001 and since then have given a Kelsey’s Krate to every child entering that program and the required isolation ward.
Kelsey’s Kids makes products that simultaneously represent revenue and service; however, this board of directors envisions a more ambitious list of goals than providing toys for hospitals. With a large enough principal account in the Kelsey’s Kids Foundation, the organization could fund ongoing support for any child, healthy or ill, in a family impacted by deadly disease. Our long-range goal is to provide scholarships for tutoring and educational supplies for children affected by major medical problems - not only the patient, but also healthy siblings who have been taken from their schools to be near Children’s Hospital as their sister or brother undergoes treatment.
We want to recognize these very special entities and people. Without their gifts, we would still be just a concept. They have enabled us to produce smiles worldwide.
- Hill Aeviun: Edwards, CO
- Custom Plastic Developments, Inc: Kissimmee, FL.
- Alpine Bank: Glenwood Springs, CO.
- Charlson Foundation: Edina, MN
- Anschutz Family Foundation: Denver, CO
- Campfire Marshmallows, Duomak Inc.: Elk Grove Village, IL
- Kiwanis Club: Glenwood Springs, CO
- Sunrise Rotary Club: Glenwood Springs, CO
- Casey Anderson, artist: Parachute, CO
- Dan Sprick, artist: Glenwood Springs, CO.
- Robert Stull, Goldsmith: Glenwood Springs, CO.
- Dean Bowlby, artist: Silt, CO.
- Angie Parkison, Author: Glenwood Springs, CO.
- Resa Dennie, Donor: Glenwood Springs, CO.
- Jean Simonson, Donor: Rifle, CO.
- Children’s Hospital Colorado, miracles makers: Denver
- Gran Farnum Printing, Graphic Artist: Glenwood Springs, CO
- Sauders Studio, Photographer: Denver, CO
- Elyse Hutchinson, Graphic Artist: New Castle, Co