Children's Hospice Care: TBWA Gracefully Addresses One of Life's Toughest Topics

Making the end just as beautiful as the beginning - all while helping families cope with their loss.

by Rani Shah

The topic of terminally ill children is one which many (understandably) struggle to cope with - TrinityKids Care (TKC), a pediatric hospice in Southern California, plans on changing that.

Their new campaign touts the poignant tagline: “If you don’t know what to say, give.” 

TrinityKids Care (TKC) is out with four new ads from TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles, seeking to raise money for the in-home end-of-life support it provides to terminally ill children and their families. 

The TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles team and Creative Director, Kirsten Rutherford, answer our questions about tackling such a difficult topic while also getting an important message out.


What kind of research went into the TKC campaign?

As Southern California’s only dedicated pediatric, in-home provider of hospice and palliative care, TrinityKids Care is unique. Like many of our audience, our team’s knowledge of hospice was limited to the care we’d seen given to older members of our families.

In order to learn more about their work, we were able to spend time with TKC’s Medical Director, Dr. Glen Komatsu. We also spoke to their nurses and learned the stories of their patients. We were also incredibly grateful to meet a family who’ve worked with TKC who shared their story with us.


Hospice Care is already a sensitive topic, more so when it involves children. What’s some advice you can share about handling sensitive topics such as this?

The work that TrinityKids Care does is vital but faces a challenge in a saturated charitable giving market. Donating towards the “end of life” is not as enticing as supporting specific disease research. People feel good about putting their money towards finding cures, as there’s inherent hope attached to the action. They have a hard time thinking about inevitable death, this is especially true with regard to the death of a child.

With such a sensitive topic, we wanted to acknowledge this discomfort, and let our audience know that it’s ok to feel helpless. It’s ok to not know what to say to a family facing such tragedy. That led us to our insight. People don’t have to say anything. Instead, they can express their support by giving to TrinityKids Care, who know exactly how to help.

Working collaboratively with the TKC team allowed us to make sure we were respectful and authentic to their stories and the work they do.




What was your team most surprised by in the development of this campaign?

Working on this campaign has touched every one of our team members in a profound way, more so than we ever anticipated. By spending time with Dr. Glen and his team, we felt compelled to be able to share more of their story. TKC’s work doesn’t stop at medical care and counseling. Many of their families need help with the basic necessities of life. When parents have to stop working to look after a terminally ill child, they often can’t pay their power bills. Some need cellphones to call for help in an emergency. Our scope of work was originally based around creating work that drew attention to TKC’s fundraising campaign, but when we learned the extent of the services that TKC offer, we created extra content around the work TKC do. We also met the Sonnens, a family who work with TKC and had recently lost their beautiful daughter. We are privileged to be able to share their story and were astounded by their strength.


What was the most rewarding part of this campaign?

Knowing that we are able to use our creative skills to help bring awareness to such an incredible cause. Seeing the reaction of Dr. Glen, and the Sonnens, and knowing our work feels true, and respectful to their stories.

Going forward, how do you think media and technology will interact differently with healthcare than it does today?

I’m excited by the potential of new technology to bring awareness, and more importantly, to help fundraise in the charitable healthcare sector. Online giving platforms have made it easier to donate and share the cause. I believe emerging payment platforms such as Venmo and SnapCash have even more potential to be used creatively within this space.


What was the general response to this campaign when it was first published? Was it what you anticipated?

The campaign has been met with a lot of heart from the public. Our greatest thrill was to see Ed Sheeran holding up a giant check from his team at Paradigm Talent for $10,000! TKC’s work doesn’t stop, so ours doesn’t stop either - that’s why I encourage readers to visit and donate. Because if they don’t know what to say, give. 



To donate to TrinityKids Care, please visit:



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