Children on the inpatient oncology floor at Lurie Children's celebrate 'Donut Day'

A downtown Chicago hospital has a new tactic to give patients and their families a sweet break from challenging times.

The key is free donuts, bringing smiles to children and their caregivers at Lurie Children's Hospital.

"Being able to see just a smile on a face even if it's just for a little donut. It truly just makes the world not only for our staff here for myself but also for our families," said Elizabeth Ciesielski, Lurie Children's Hospital, Child Life Specialist.

The first Friday of the month is now "Donut Day" on the oncology floor. The treats are provided by "Dancing While Cancering", an organization with the mission of bringing light to darker hospital moments.

"Even the simplest things make it even better," said Jackie Hiatt.

Hiatt's 2-year-old daughter, Payton, has been in and out of this hospital since she was six-months-old. A mystery illness sapped her appetite, so her mom hopes that a donut is impossible to resist. 


"Even a bite is better than nothing so that's the way I think of it," said Hiatt.

Another aim of the donuts is to get families out of their rooms, into the hallways and community rooms with other families, especially since the pandemic has kept them so isolated.

"It means a lot to us because even just getting off the room to walk down here to get the donuts so that she can be active and moving around," said Areal Brimmage, who's 6-year-old daughter, Armani, is undergoing cancer treatment.

"She'll be happy with the donut, trust me she didn't even eat her breakfast because she knew she was coming down here for donuts," said Brimmage.

A moment for sweetness for Armani and a chance for Payton to continue her care with a sprinkle of joy.