Heading into the holiday season, it’s natural for children to start dreaming about the gifts they want. Things like cell phones, tablets, toys, stuffed animals, clothing and shoes typically top their lists.

For hospitalized children, though, the list is much shorter. They just want to get well.

At any given moment across Southwest Florida, hundreds of children are sick with cancer, battling pneumonia, overcoming congenital heart conditions, recovering from auto accidents or undergoing treatments for a multitude of ailments. It’s heartbreaking to see children facing such serious, life-threatening issues. They should be full of joy, living life to the fullest without a care in the world.

The least we can do is support these children and their families on their journey toward better health. Today, technology and training have advanced so much that nearly every pediatric condition, if caught early enough, can be successfully treated. It should be our goal to make sure all sick and injured children have access to such state-of-the-art care.

Our region boasts one of the nation’s top pediatric hospitals in Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. World-class doctors, nurses, advocates, social workers and volunteers see more than 45,000 patients annually. It’s a hospital built through philanthropy that still relies on philanthropy to provide vital, life-saving care to our children, grandchildren, neighbors and friends.

Nearly four years ago, Lee Health announced a partnership with Children’s Miracle Network to supplement programs and services at Golisano Children’s Hospital. Moments later, Sunshine Ace Hardware declared Children’s Miracle Network as our “primary charity partner,” pledging to create a series of year-round fundraising activities to enhance pediatric care in Southwest Florida.

Donations to Children’s Miracle Network help cover costs of patient services for children and families, charitable care for patients lacking sufficient funds or insurance, and education programs for patients, families and the community. Donations also allow hospitals to purchase life-saving equipment and provide advancement services for innovative programs and projects.

Through Sunday, Dec. 24, customers at any Sunshine Ace Hardware store in Southwest Florida can support local children through the company’s Holiday Round Up. It’s easy to participate – just round up your purchase at the register or choose a specific dollar amount to donate.

For store locations and operating hours, please visit SunshineAce.com.

If everyone in our community participates, a dollar here and there can make quite a big difference in the lives of hospitalized children. We can give them the gift they really want – to get well and go home.

– By Michael Wynn, President of Sunshine Ace Hardware