The idea for Tanner’s Totes Inc. came to be from the desire of Tanner James Smith of Alpharetta, Georgia. In March of 1992, Tanner’s dad was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stage IV. In July of 1993, his dad received a bone marrow transplant. Tanner’s father is cancer free today, but suffers greatly since 1993 from a disease known as Graft vs. Host. This disease has disabled Tanner’s dad, yet he never misses any of the daily events in Tanner’s life.
When Tanner was in the fourth grade, he wrote a paper entitled My Three Wishes. Along with wishing for a golden retriever, and to become a professional basketball player, Tanner wished to make kids with cancer laugh. He ended the paper stating that if any of his wishes could truly come true, he would want to cheer up kids that have cancer. Tanner again wrote of this desire in the sixth grade. In November of 2002, at the age of twelve, the first delivery to “cheer up kids with cancer” began. After contacting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, it was shared with us their strong desire to have something for the preteens and teenagers. They needed items to brighten their day, as well as something to carry items in from treatment to treatment, thus “Tanner’s Totes”.
As of today, almost 7000+ totes have been delivered to many childrens hospitals. Each year, an estimated 300 children go through the cancer and long term care units of just the two Children's Healthcare of Atlanta hospitals alone. Tanner’s desire to expand out of state to reach other long term care or cancer patients is beginning to happen. His first delivery out of state was made on May 20, 2005. Twenty totes were delivered to MUSC Children’s Hospital in Charleston, SC. Tote bags have been delivered to children's hospitals in Memphis, TN (LeBonheur),Omaha, NE (UNMC) and Jacksonville, FL (Wolfson). We are currently involved with over 25 hospitals. Click here to see where the totes are going.
Tanner's life drastically changed when he accepted a full scholarship to play basketball at Clemson University. Going from high school to college is a big change for anyone, but his free time is very limited as he prepares to take on the exceptional talent in the ACC. However, the one part of his life that has not been compromised is his hope and desire to keep Tanner's Totes, Inc alive, so that kids with difficult health issues will know that someone out there is thinking of them. Tanner continues to direct his company to complete his ultimate goal: reach out to as many children's hospitals as God will allow.
Tanner’s Totes, Inc. is an IRS Approved, publicly supported 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is designed to aid pre-teens and teenagers who are undergoing long term treatment in the hospital.