Share a Talent at Marbles to Help Children in Hospitals

Jessie Curtis's son Brodie
Brodie gets to go to Duke basketball game thanks to a donation to the Give Gala, where service and talent, not money are the commodity.

Don’t have any money to spare but want to help sick children and their parents in the Triangle? You can donate your service or talent at The Give Gala, 8-11 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11, at Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh. Your nonmonetary gift will help patients and families at Duke and UNC Children’s Hospitals.

Here’s how it works: Once you arrive at the gala, your offer of service collected at registration gains you admission. You’ll be given a name plate listing your gift, and then, you’re free to enjoy drinks and desserts, a photo booth, music and interactive games. Headbands of Hope — which provides headbands to kids going through chemotherapy — and The Monday Life — a nonprofit that offers art and music therapy to hospitalized children — are hosting the gala, which matches talents with the needs of pediatric patients and their families.  

“Doing good isn’t just about money,” says Joey McMahon, founder and CEO of The Monday Life. “Each of us has so much more to give. We have talents and gifts and passions and love … and they’re often the exact things that patients and their families need. The Give Gala is about bringing people together. It’s about creating those rare, super-personal interactions with others that you just never forget.”

McMahon himself has figured a way to help Brodie, a 4-year-old Duke basketball fan battling neurofibromatosis, a condition that causes tumors to form in the brain, spinal cord and nerves. A former Duke basketball team manager, McMahon asked the Duke team to donate tickets so Brodie can go to his first game on Nov. 12.

The Duke basketball tickets will put a “huge smile” on his face, says Brodie's mother, Jessie Curtis. “Brodie is a huge Duke and Coach K fan,” she says. “With all of his medical bills, we are unable to buy game tickets. This charity is making his wish a reality."

Juggling Home and Hospital

Amanda Kimball, an owner and hairstylist at Twisted Scizzors Salon in Cary, plans to donate her hair services to Corrine Wise, whose child, Hunter, has cancer. Hunter has had four brain surgeries and recently started chemotherapy.

Wise says her life is a juggling act between home and the hospital that is focused on her child — not herself. "Parents tend to naturally give to our children, then we come second. Once you have a sick child, there is no more you — only your child,” she says. “As parents we are consumed with what may seem like everyday life. What may be a simple gesture by one person gives a sense of normalcy to another. Kimball is asking, ‘What can I do for you? Would you like a cut or color?’ Gives a piece of ‘you’ back, which I am extremely grateful for."

For Kimball, caring for Wise’s hair is a way of giving back and remembering those who helped her years ago when her husband, LeRoy, was in a motorcycle accident, and her four children were babies.

“I had to drop everything and rush to his side in a hospital in another state,” she recalls. “Friends jumped in and took over my job as mom and stylist. They gave me support, care and love that saw us through a long road to recovery. It’s nice to be able to share my talents/gifts with these parents and caregivers because deep down, I know they could use some support, care and love just like I did years ago. Often when I do this, for that brief hour, they are transported to a place where they can relax and regroup, and sometimes find a small window of peace.”

Kimball’s 14-year-old daughter, Raven, will also be at the Give Gala offering her gift of art. “She is hoping to be able to paint for a child,” Kimball says. “Whether it be a canvas, wall or ceiling tile, it will be something glorious — I just know it.”

Jess Ekstorm, who founded Headbands of Hope in 2012 when she was a junior in college and noticed that kids who had been through chemotherapy liked to wear headbands, says a “simple gesture” can go a long way.

“We want to inspire that way of giving at The Give Gala. Whatever you can give, it can go a long way for a patient and his or her family,” she says.

Anyone who can’t attend the gala but still wants to give a service can visit


Categories: Food + Fun, Giving Back, New, Fun, Deals, Solutions, Teens, Things To Do