Why is Pile of Smile so Unique?

We sell donated art created by kids, for kids.

All proceeds go to fulfill the wishes of children suffering from cancer.

Pile of Smile project encourages boys and girls to create and donate their art as a deep act of compassion in support of ill kids. By creating opportunities for children to contribute and alleviate the suffering of another child, we alter their view of the world, deepen their well of compassion, and make a lasting impact on their lives. Through Pile of Smile, kids are being exposed to tremendously loving and touching stories and learn the true meaning of gratitude.

Imogen’s Story

In Imogen’s world, art creates the space where anything is possible...

Pile of Smile is just that. Eight-year-old Imogen is like most kids - full of wonder. Imogen loves to be outside taking in the wonder of the natural world, discovering, exploring and enjoying all of life’s simple pleasures. Her connection to the basic wonderment of life is likely what sparked the creation of Pile of Smile. After watching her family friend Dean Cucinotta struggle with cancer before losing his life on July 4th 2013, Imogen could not help but notice the suffering experienced by Dean and his family. Imogen expressed a desire to sell children’s art, and use the proceeds to give children living with cancer opportunities to enjoy an experience of their dreams. Imogen also loves to swim, play, create art and fully express herself in all avenues of life!

About Dean

Dean lived a life of dedication to his family, in more ways than one.

He was a loving husband to his wife and a devoted father to his two amazing daughters. But Dean was also devoted to his “family” in the broader sense of the word -- his community. For years, he coached soccer teams in Haddonfield, New Jersey.  He shared his passion for life with people young and old.  And true to his lifestyle, he committed to building and supporting a yoga community with his partner -- the love of his life -- Nicole.  When Dean found out about his diagnosis of cancer, the community he stood with his whole life stood for him ...supporting him, loving, and caring for his entire family.  Dean lived life full on, and enriched his whole “family” every day.

About our Logo

Deanie Beanie

Along with the Pile of Smile concept, Imogen also had a logo idea in her head. She sketched a child flying through the air wearing a rainbow beanie with a propeller, based in the idea of a hat that elevates children above the cancer and up to touch their highest dreams. To formalize the idea, we asked various artists to offer their own interpretations, and chose the logo you see on all Pile of Smile materials. In honor of Dean, the child in our logo is named “Deanie Beanie”. (It was only after we settled on the name that we learned some of Dean’s own friends used to call him “Dean Bean.”). Do you see any resemblance?

First Connection

Lucian The Light Warrior

Pile of Smile made its first connection with the family of Lucian Williamson. Lucian was a diagnosed with Leukemia when he was just six months old. After undergoing many treatments, hospitalizations and eventually a bone transfer, Lucian’s family believed they were well on the way to beating cancer. But one day close to his 2nd birthday, they went in for a bone scan, only to find out Lucian’s scans came back with news that was not good at all. The scans showed the Leukemia had spread throughout Lucian’s little bones. Nothing more could be done. It was at this time when Alison (Imogen’s mom) heard of their story, and Pile of Smile and Lucian’s family connected. The priority was to make Lucian as comfortable as possible as he spent his last days at home with his family.

Pile of Smile held two major fundraisers. The first was an art workshop, held at Lake Fairfax skatepark, led by KeyHan. Keyhan shared his technique of transfer-on-wood art. It was a beautiful afternoon, we had a great turnout, and most importantly, kids were excited and engaged in creating their art for a reason they knew was very special. Thank you to all who came out and supported! The workshop alone raised $500.

Next we held a unique online raffle, in partnership with Good World, featuring two pieces. One of the pieces was a painting done by Imogen. The other was by donated by artist Kelly Towels. This raffle was held over one day, where everyone was able to enter the art raffle drawing for each of the works of art. We raised $2000. As mentioned earlier, Lucian was at the end of his journey. Lucian passed away in arms of his parents on June 6th, 2014 as we were in the midst of these events. Pile of Smile had committed to contribute to his family, and so, in a departure from our now-established mission of fulfilling wishes for the children, we decided to donate all proceeds to Lucian’s family as they coped with their devastating loss.

Our Partners