While thinking about the hundreds or even thousands of patients I’ve seen while volunteering at pediatric hospitals, its wild that one little guy is still sticking with me days after.
The majority of my volunteer shift this past Sunday, [August 18, 2013] I stayed and made a rocket ship out of Legos with a little boy who was alone in his room. Since his nurses reached out to the Child Life staff for a volunteer, his name and room number were highlighted and marked as a true priority. This heightened interest for a volunteer was clearly explained when I reached his room. As soon as I started gowning up he looked over, saw me, and with pure excitement waved for me to come in and play. After completing a few pages in the construction instructions the nurses came in and started a procedure to clear his breathing tube. For folks with weak stomachs I won’t get into details. Seeing the fearful look as they walked in, the tears in his eyes as they were doing the procedure, then the pure joy when he got his reward – a hulk mask – for being “so strong” was moving….I almost needed to do pushups to get my man points back. We continued to play with his gift for quite some time. He attempted to put on the mask and made barely audible roaring sounds towards the nurses and I. We all clearly “heard” the noise and each time we continually trembled with fear until he pulled the mask away and showed us it was just him. After a couple terrifying experiences we returned to completing the world renowned rocket ship!
With those types of stories and experiences we’ve learned that often a little can go a LONG way with these children. But thinking about it, what about the children at small hospitals that don’t have volunteersand who are there by themselves? What about children who are at hospitals that can’t afford to give their patients green hulk masks who’s eyes light up when you push a button on the left side? It’s hard to imagine how the children could recover from painful and scary medical procedures without as much emotional assistance.
Based on our knowledge of those types of situations Cardz for Kidz! is going to focus on connecting with smaller hospitals that may not have hulk masks or other fun toys to reward children after painful procedures. Also, we understand that based on their small sizes, at times other large volunteer organizations are not able to connect with children in these hospitals. Currently we’re working with hospitals that range from 15 to 200 pediatric patients and we will continually work with hospitals of ALL sizes.
Thankfully, there is NO such thing as a hospital that’s “too small” to be a part of our program!!