Happy Crates! Sends Smiles While Helping to Fight Childhood Cancer


The Leonards – Derrick, Darren (with Gemma the Giraffe), Mia, Lauren, Matthew

Lauren and Derrick Leonard know what it means to see a child’s smile.

They learned that important lesson when their oldest son, Darren, was diagnosed with a brain tumor shortly after birth. Baby Darren was given only a few months to live. But he’s still here – still very much alive – eight years later.  As Lauren writes, walking the halls of hospitals in the days, months, and then years after that diagnosis, they learned “the true value of a smile.”

As a result of their experience, the Leonards have created Happy Crates, a company dedicated to bringing smiles to children with cancer. The idea is simple: whenever someone buys a “Happy Crate”, a box filled with toys, books, games and other fun items for a child, part of the proceeds goes to send another Happy Crate – free of charge – to a child with cancer. Another portion goes to fighting childhood cancer.  Everyone knows how excited  children can get when they receive a package in the mail – something just for them with their own name on it!  You can order a single Happy Crate or get a six-month subscription with your child receiving a different Happy Crate each month while you get the warm glow of knowing that somewhere another child, one with cancer, is also receiving a Happy Crate. Details are available on the Happy Crates website.

The Leonards – Lauren, Derrick, Darren, their two younger children Mia and Matthew, took part in a ribbon cutting at USA Fulfillment in Chestertown June 29, launching a partnership with the company to ship the crates nationwide. Both sets of grandparents were there. Lauren described the company’s origins and its mission, saying their purpose is to keep fighting and giving children something to bring a smile to their lives.

USA Fullfillment employees turned out in force, all wearing t-shirts with slogan to End Childhood Cancer. VP Jay Stamerro on right with microphone.

Ready, set, go!

And it’s Officially Open!

Chestertown Mayor Chris Cerino and USA Fulfillment vice president Jay Stamerro welcomed the family, their friends and supporters. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, everyone was invited to come into the USA Fulfillment building for refreshments.  There was a beautiful cake with blue icing, trimmed with blue roses and, in white icing, the words “Happy Crates – Smiles Delivered.  One Step Closer to a Cure, One Smile at a time.”  After the refreshments, everyone went upstairs for a tour of the distribution center where the colorful crates are filled and stored awaiting shipment. Quite a few have already been purchased and shipped since the website went live last week.

A sample of the crates’ contents was on display, along with t-shirts bearing slogans for the fight against cancer. The toys are all from smaller, upscale toy companies, Lauren said.  This is to help ensure that what the child receives is unique, special and not something they may already have in their toy box. So nothing from big box stores.

Sample Happy Crates

Lauren said she worked hard to get t-shirts that had interesting and stylish designs without losing the message.  She said it was hard to find attractive apparel about fighting cancer. The percentage that goes to their mission varies from 20-50%, depending on the item.  The sale of two t-shirts, for example, will support one Happy Crate for a child with cancer.  All items can be bought on the website and help support the Happy Crates mission to bring smiles to kids with cancer while helping the fight to end childhood cancer.

Sample Happy Crates

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