Our founder, Ike Nwankwo, launched the first Cardz For Kidz event in 2010, but his connection with kids started well before that. His volunteering journey began at the age of 12 at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI. Connecting with patients and families during that summer sparked his passion for working with sick and recovering patients and pediatric patients. He continued volunteering at the hospital throughout high school and college.
On July 12, 2004, he experienced his first trip to the emergency room, as a patient. Due to his bout with epilepsy, Ike underwent brain surgery at the University of Michigan Hospital in 2005. As a patient, he began to understand the toll of being restricted to one’s hospital bed has on the patient and their family. Ike wanted to do more.
In 2010, Ike had children from church work with young adults to make handmade cards for patients at the hospital he volunteered at, currently known as Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. He then took the idea to his coworkers and they did the same.
Increased participation and interest from other companies and universities allowed the expansion beyond solely delivering cards to pediatric patients to include hospitalized and/or traumatized children. In 2014, Cardz For Kidz, NFP became a certified 501(c)(3). What originally started as only sending cards to pediatric patients, has morphed into reaching any person in need of encouragement across the globe.
Founder & President
“My firsthand experience of being confined to a room while receiving testing is why our focus is to make sure patients, who are confined to their rooms/beds, can be entertained as well!”