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Our Smiles for Kids With Cancer project works to bring a copy of David Saltzman’s The Jester Has Lost His Jingle and a Jester & Pharley Doll to each of the 15,700 children expected to be diagnosed with cancer in the United States each year.

We partner with more than 300 hospitals nationwide to make it possible for child life staff and social workers to give each newly diagnosed pediatric cancer patient a gift copy of the Jester book and doll provided by our supporters.

The message of hope and laughter found in David’s award-winning book has been lifting the spirits of children with cancer since the book’s release in late 1995

“One patient I gave The Jester to was an 8-year-old boy battling acute lymphoid leukemia. I came back in the afternoon to see if he and his mother had a chance to read the book. They both smiled and said how much they enjoyed it. The patient’s mother explained how much of a difference laughter makes in their day-to-day coping and this book served as a friendly reminder. I cannot wait to continue to give these books to our patients and see the joy they bring.”

Brittany Horden, Child Life Specialist, Edinburg Children’s Hospital, Edinburg, TX

The Jester is such a fun character that is relatable to these children. I recently read the book to a patient ‒ and before reading it she was grumpy, wouldn’t look at you or talk. After reading the book, she became playful and talkative.

Kerri Arvidson, Child Life Specialist, Loyola University Medical Center Children’s Hospital, Maywood, IL

Thank you for proving our daughter with a copy of The Jester. We enjoyed reading it while we waited between appointments. She enjoyed the pictures and laughed as I read to her. It definitely brightened a difficult day.

A New St. Jude Family, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN

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See How The Jester Helps Kids Cope With Cancer

As part of our Smiles for Kids With Cancer Program, four-year-old Rena received The Jester Has Lost His Jingle while being treated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She has heard the story so many times that she now “reads” it to her friends and family constantly. “It makes me feel so happy,” Rena says with a big smile.

We welcome donations of any amount to bring The Jester’s smile to children with cancer. Donations may be made as a tribute to a loved one and may be designated for a pediatric oncology center in your community.