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Birmingham organization offers hope for parents who are losing a child

Hometown Heroes | Just Keep Smiling | Birmingham

As parents of terminally ill children struggle through their darkest days, Jeanne Busby works to shine light and show hope.

Busby helps to coordinate fundraising efforts at Just Keep Smiling, a Birmingham, Alabama, nonprofit that provides financial relief to parents. Money raised through donations, sponsorships and events goes to pay for immediate needs such as housing costs and utilities bills.

Busby is the “heart and soul” of the organization, says Patrice Brooks, who founded Just Keep Smiling in 2005 with two other women grieving the loss of their children.

They understand that work is disrupted and bills go neglected as families focus on their children. “We try to help give these families some relief from household expenses, so mom and dad don’t have to worry about being at work, but instead can spend quality time in the hospital with their child,” says Busby, who has been with the organization since the beginning.

Busby oversees quarterly fundraising events such as auctions and golf tournaments. Next up? The June 27 Golf Tournament at Greystone Golf and Country Club in Birmingham.

Busby also offers support for many of the families on a personal level, including working with hospitalized children to create handmade Christmas cards.

“I’ve gotten to know so many of the children, and that’s really kept my heart attached to the core of what Just Keep Smiling tries to do,” Busby says. “We want to let these families know that the sun is always out there, it’s just sometimes behind the clouds. But eventually there will be a new day dawning.”

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