People: Debbie Barham named local coordinator for Ryan’s Case for Smiles

Debbie Barham

Debbie Barham

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Debbie Barham, co-owner of Carson City-based DeBug Computer, Inc., has been named Northern Nevada coordinator for the nonprofit Ryan’s Case for Smiles.

Ryan’s Case for Smiles was founded in 2007 to create and distribute whimsical pillowcases to young cancer patients and their families to help ease the fear associated with hospital stays.

Barham is a founding member of the Northern Nevada chapter since 2011. After reading an article in Women’s Day magazine, Barham, Mary Herrall and Lavonne Johnson came together to form the local chapter and begin sewing pillowcases they delivered to children in local hospitals.

“In the beginning the three of us made all the pillowcases,” Barham said in a press release. “Over time we have reached out to local quilt stores, women’s groups and churches, as well as the Kohl’s Cares program. They have all helped us make pillowcases and earn money to help pay for all the fabric.”

Prior to the pandemic, Barham said groups of women would get together once a month to make pillowcases. Now, smaller groups gather to sew, iron, wash, label and stuff pillowcases.

“Our normal distribution, before COVID-19, was 300 pillowcases a month,” Barham said. “We could not do this without all of our volunteers. We’re always looking for more to help, and you don’t have to be able to sew to contribute.”

To date, Ryan’s Case for Smiles has delivered more than 2 million pillowcases to over 75,000 children and their families, as well as 30,700 masks for pediatric nurses to use while visiting medically complex children, many of whom are ventilator dependent, through some 40 million volunteer hours.


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