Sunshine Kids pampered by Sirius Day Spa in the Sarasota area. | East County

When the Sunshine Kids walked through the door of Karen Medford’s Sirius Day Spa at University Park on September 29, she met each one with a smile.

She wanted to make sure they all left with one.

Kimberly Weller of Sirius Day Spa pampers 5-year-old Callie Johnson by doing her nails during a visit from the Sunshine Kids.

“They are such precious children,” Medford said of the organization of the event. “Our only job here today is to see them smile.”

The Sunshine Kids organization presents a variety of free programs and events for children receiving cancer treatment.

The Sirius Day Spa event provided children and their siblings with massages, nail treatments, makeup applications, hairstyles and mini facials.

Owen Hart, three, of Cape Coral, smiled as he walked away from a mini-massage. He ran over to his mother, Amy Burge, and gave her a hug. Burge had tears in his eyes.

“He has leukemia,” she said of her son. “It’s great. It’s just a little bit of normalcy.”

Lakewood Ranch Hadley Carter, 3, was pampered by Debra Ratzlaff of Sirius Day Spa, who was doing her fingernails. Ratzlaff went slowly, asking the little girl how she could make each of her nails different and special.

Hadley’s mother, Ryan, watched from a few feet away.

“She has soft muscle cancer,” said Ryan Carter. “She’s halfway through her treatment. It’s great for her to have something local.”

Kimberly Weller of Sirius Day Spa was having fun doing the nails of Ruskin, 5, Callie Johnson, who couldn’t help but smile at all the attention she was receiving.

Jenny Schenk, owner of Pineapple Kitchen in Bradenton, shows off the Graze brunch she made for the Sunshine Kids. It includes candied bacon, artisan cheeses, fresh fruit, cinnamon buns and more.

“She just had a bone marrow transplant,” said her mother, Marguerite Johnson. “It’s such a good time for her not to think about what she’s going through. She doesn’t think about the next three months. It’s good for morale. And it was a nice surprise for her. She had it all. asked week if she could get her nails done. “

Jeremiah Valera, 5, from Cape Coral, started his ordeal with a tattoo on his arm. Her mother, Daniela Isaza, said her cancer affected her adrenal glands.

“It’s so wonderful,” she said. “He had COVID so he can finally relax and do something. It’s wonderful to have an activity with other kids who are very similar to him. It makes him feel safe.”

Madison Alger of the Sunshine Kids said the organization was thrilled with a similar spa day in Medford held at the Sirius Day Spa in Lakewood Ranch two years ago.

“Karen is so awesome,” Algiers said. “This is one of the only events like this that we have for kids. It was so good (two years ago) that we didn’t want to give this event to anyone else.”

When the kids finished their treatments, they had food waiting for them in the lobby, provided by Jenny and Mike Schenk from Pineapple Kitchen in Bradenton.

“It’s in our heart to help others,” said Jenny Schenk. “We have grandchildren, so to see all these young children come home.”

Five-year-old Jeremiah Valera shows off his temporary tattoo during Sunshine Kids’ visit to Sirius Day Spa.

Amy Burge hugs her 3-year-old son, Owen Hart, after he received a massage at Sirius Day Spa.


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