Pascale’s Pals named finalist in Toyota car competition

If the organization wins, it will donate a car to the MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Sophomore Monique White’s younger sister Pascale was diagnosed with cancer at only 18 months old. Now, she is thriving in her junior year of high school, thanks to the MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

As a way of saying “thank you,” White is working to donate a car to the hospital through Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program. But to do so, she needs the community’s help.

“We need all of the community to vote so we can obtain this vehicle,” White said. "Basically, the out-of-town families and new mothers at the MU Women's and Children's Hospital need transportation to and from the Ronald McDonald House."

On Sunday, Toyota will post five organizations on its Facebook page, one of which will be Pascale’s Pals. Facebook users can then vote for the organization they see most fit to receive the car. The organization with the most votes at the end of the day will receive a Toyota Sienna.

“Toyota wants to salute do-gooders by giving 100 cars over 100 days to nonprofits that could really use a new set of wheels,” the company’s website states.

White’s mother Sylvie Carpentier started the organization in 1995 to help children in the same situation as Pascale. The organization works year after year to raise funds for playgrounds, wish baskets and other amenities for children at the hospital.

"Our mission has always been to ease the burden of the families and the children and the hospital," White said. "We do that by working closely with the social workers. Any need that arises, we are right there."

The organization raises money through an annual auction, which they raised more than $100,000 at this year.

When out-of-town families are visiting the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, they can receive free accommodations at the Ronald McDonald House. But because the residence is located about four miles away from the hospital, transportation poses a problem for some families.

“One of the problems our patients have when they come from out of town is they may not have transportation to the Ronald McDonald House,” said Ted Groshong, Department of Child Health associate professor.

This can be especially traumatizing to new mothers, for example.

“Women are recovering from major surgeries or having had complicated deliveries and are unable to come and see their babies because public transportation is very limited,” said Dasi Schlup, a Women’s and Children’s Hospital social worker.

In the grand scheme of things, White said transportation should be the least of the families’ worries.

“Honestly, the last thing they should be concerned with is whether they're going to have the means to get to their children easily,” she said. "Most of the new mothers just had big surgery so they can't even drive, and out-of-town families usually come in only for emergencies and they don't think to bring more than one car and the next day one of them has to go back to work."

Having a car available will help solve this problem, White said.

"It will give them a direct means of transportation to and from the Women's and Children's Hospital so they can see their children," she said.

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