Hospital swag

I already blogged about Child Life Specialists on another post. They are specially trained and certified to help families through traumatic situations in the hospital.

You usually have doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and CNA’s that take care of the medical side of things.

Child Life Specialists help families deal with the mental side of hospitalizations. They help families that are scared, upset, sad or just don’t know what to do or how to help their child.

For each child in the hospital, the Child Life Specialist will talk to the child and find out what they like. Then they return from their Special Room with things that will help the child through the scary times. Toys, books, videos, art project, and blankets.

Yep, blankets. There is a national organization called Project Linus. What is that? It’s a volunteer organization that can:

“Provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.””

You probably remember Linus from the Peanuts comic strip and cartoons. He is the kid who always carries his blanket and sucks his thumb. It helps him feel better when he’s upset.

Same thing with kids in the hospital, they are scared and need a blanket too. Many times, kids end up in the hospital suddenly – you take your child to the pediatrician and they say, “Your child needs to be admitted to the hospital – now!” (I have had that happen more than once with my kids.) Or you rush them to the hospital in the middle of the night, or maybe the ambulance takes the child.

When that happens, you aren’t always thinking straight. Things are left behind – blankies, stuffed animals, shoes, etc.

My kids were hospitalized 12 times when they were young (thanks to asthma and pneumonia), so we got a LOT of blankets from the Child Life Specialist.

We let our kids choose if they wanted another blanket, or if they wanted someone to find their blanket at home and bring it down to the hospital. Sometimes they needed a blanket RIGHT THEN! Other times, they wanted their favorite blanket from home. After a while, we told the Child Life Specialist to save the blankets for other families – we didn’t want to take them all!

We still have those blankets. It’s been over 10 years since the kids were hospitalized for the last time, and I can still remember the scary times and the sweet comfort the blankets brought to our family.

Its overwhelming to think that someone that never met us would:

  • take the time to drive to the fabric store
  • buy fabric and batting (or fleece)
  • drive back home
  • cut out the fabric
  • pin the quilt
  • tie the quilt
  • and deliver it to the local chapter coordinator

Each blanket is also bundled up with a poem called With Tender Loving Care.

I may or may not have cried each time I read the poem.

We decided to make a big batch of fleece blankets and donate them back to our local Project Linus chapter. Someone took the time to do that for our family, it was our turn to help someone else.

Just paying it forward.

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