A Little Wish…

Close your eyes and make a wish…

We all have made wishes on birthday candles, wishbones, on 11:11 A.M./P.M and even blown dandelions. We all have made a wish on something during our lives, but more importantly we made them when we were young. Children believe in pixie dust, happily ever after and believe their dreams will come true.

Every child has done this very thing and made bigger than life wishes. But what about those who are hospitalized with a cancer or some other chronic illness? Those children deserve to hold on tight to a dandelion and blow those tiny seeds away with their wish on every seed.

Little WishLittle Wish Foundation is a nonprofit organization started by Liz Niemiec in the memory of her friend Max Olson. At four years old Max was diagnosed with Wilm’s Tumor, a rare kidney cancer. In Dec. of 2007 he lost his two and a half year battle. Before he died Max had one little wish and that was a puppy. His parents bought him the puppy and he named it Chewy. Liz saw how happy this little gift made her friend and she wondered how that would make other children who suffered from cancer feel. Liz decided to make Little Wish Foundation.

Little Wish Foundation grants children who suffer from cancer a gift up to $800. Some children have wished for Ipads, shopping sprees and some have even asked for play sets and ride on toys. No wish seems too small for Little Wish Foundation.

Currently Little Wish Foundation are at the following Pediatric Oncology Units:

 

  • Peyton Manning’s Children’s Hospital

Indianapolis, Indiana

  • Riley Hospital for Children 

Indianapolis, Indiana

  • Riley North Hospital

Carmel, Indiana

  • Rush Children’s Hospital

Chicago, Illinois

  • Lutheran Children’s Hospital

Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • Lurie Children’s Hospital

Chicago, Illinois

  • Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital

Nashville, Tennessee

  • Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Phoenix, Arizona

  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

Palo Alto, California

  • Kosair Children’s Hospital

Louisville, Kentucky

  • South Bend Memorial Children’s Hospital

South Bend, Indiana

  • UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital

Los Angeles, California

  • Seattle Children’s Hospital

Seattle, Washington

 

If you know a child who has cancer and would enjoy a wish granted, please visit the website listed below.

http://www.littlewishfoundation.org/

 

A segment done on the Today Show is also attached:
http://www.today.com/video/-little-wish-foundation-grants-wishes-to-kids-battling-cancer-842054723622

Until next time!

 

 

A Doll Just Like Me!

Normally I don’t post more then one blog post per month (except with the exception of child life month), but I feel as though I have been called to share this particular blog post with you…

Growing up, I had many Barbie dolls and limitless accessories. Barbie’s magic dream house, hot pink Barbie car, shoes and clothes. I even had fake food for Barbie and Ken to eat on their spaghetti date night. While countless other little girls shared in the same toy; there were and still are girls who suffer from some kind of medical condition or disability who have to settle on just your average run of the mill doll.

What about these girls? The one’s who are suffering from hearing loss, diabetes, have a prosthetic leg due to an amputation and much more. How do these girls express themselves when they have no doll to do that with? No doll that is like them.

While this may seem to be a daunting blog post, trust me it isn’t. Good comes from it I promise.

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Diabetes Care Kit 

What do the girls who have a disability engage with and play with while their peers play with a blonde hair blue eyed Barbie?

In January of 2016 American Girl began offering a diabetes care kit for their dolls. The kit includes an insulin pump, glucose tablets, and a blood sugar monitor. Since then this company has started to sell accessories like crutches, wheelchairs, service dogs, and allergy-free lunch packs complete with a miniature EpiPen.

Not only is American Girl selling accessories to fit those needs of girls who have medical conditions and disabilities, but Playmobil from Great Britain has also started to sell dolls with disabilities. Playmobil founder Rebecca Atkinson states that “There are 770,000 children in the U.K. with disabilities and more than 150 million children worldwide.”

Feeling as though children with disabilities had no toy to turn to, Atkinson and friends began to create doll accessories to reflect some of the disabilities that children face, starting with a tiny cochlear implant made from a button and clay. We all have to start somewhere. Right!?

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Through it all American Girl Doll and Playmobil has given girls who have a disability the opportunity to express themselves through what they know best—play. Not only that, but this gives these girls the opportunity to engage with their peers and feel like one of the group once again; with a toy that is all about them.

 See link to video of a little girl receiving an American Girl doll who has a prosthetic just like she does! Little girl receives doll with a prosthetic leg just like her

(Thanks to A Step Ahead Prosthetic for creating the leg for the doll to match the girls).

http://www.weareastepahead.com/community/doll-prosthetics

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Happy Child Life Month!

 

This is my first child life month as a blogger! So excited!

child-life-month

March is Child Life Month. Even though I am a student, I would like to take a moment to point out this month that is dedicated to an amazing profession…

Child Life Specialist dedicate their careers to helping children understand their medical conditions, medical procedures, and they provide age appropriate actives, use words that children are able to comprehend and makes sure children are able to cope effectively during their hospital stay. A Child Life Specialist notices the smallest of things and makes it their top priority.

What better way to honor those who aid hospitalized children? Right!? So, how do you actually go about celebrating Child Life Specialist? You could honor those CLS in your hospital with:

Posters and Other Displays

  1. This can be done by having a poster stating the mission statement, vision and values of child life.
  2. Develop five posters showcasing the: Who, what, when, where and why of child life.   *Remember not everyone knows about child life.
  • Who: general information on education, certification, training, photo of the staff with information on each specialist.
  • What:  What is Child life’s role and history of the profession at the hospital
  • When: When are the CLS available?
  • Where: Where are CLS located within the hospital? (i.e. PICU, ER, PEDS, NICU etc.).
  • Why: Why is child life important?
  1. Create a graffiti wall (large sheets of colored paper) and have other medical professionals sign it and say what they like about child life, and why they think it is an important medical profession.

Educational/Informative Events

  1. Plan a child life staff retreat
  2. Host a child life open house
  3. Send short educational child life messages

Special Projects and Giveaways

  • Especially for staff
  1. Provide distraction toys to the staff (i.e. bubbles!)
  2. Luncheon or ice cream—who doesn’t love ice cream!
  3. Have children create child life shirts or other item (hats, fanny packs)
  4. Create a video of other medical professionals showing their graduate for child life. Don’t forget the fun and upbeat music!

Staff Appreciation

  1. Lunch or ice cream!
  2. Order child life shirts or other useful items (maybe cool and fun bags for CLS to carry their distraction and educational toys in!)

 

These are just a few ways one can recognize child life during March. You can find these and other ideas on the child life website: https://www.childlife.org/child-life-profession/child-life-month/suggested-activities.

 

Even though I am still a student, I can’t wait to take part in child life month as an actual CCLS! Happy Child Life month everyone!

 

Until next time!

 

Mended Heart Bear…

Do you know someone who is currently in the hospital for open heart surgery? Perhaps it is an aunt, uncle, grandparent, parent or maybe even a child. Spending time in the hospital can be a scary and uneasy time for everyone! Especially a child. They are in an unfamiliar place, seeing unfamiliar people, sounds, smells and maybe experiencing unfamiliar tastes.

mended-heart-bear

The child or relative is a little apprehensive about their surgery and you want to get them something during their stay. Something special, but what do you give them? A few months back I was surfing pinterest (see my link to my pinterest account on the right hand side) and I discovered a bear called: Mended Heart Bear. This teddy bear has a functional zipper on the chest and a red felt heart that is mended with white stitches (see picture).

This bear is a great gift and the children will like having a toy that has the same scar as them.

Bummer Bears were created by Jenny Robbins after her Aunt Mary had open heart surgery. She wanted to get her aunt something special, and her mom mentioned that her aunt collected teddy bears. So Jenny went out and bought a brown teddy bear, a zipper, a felt heart and some white stitching (for the scar). That was the first mended heart bear in the bummer bear collection.

Jenny then made a second mended heart bear for a friend who was also having open heart surgery. After that Jenny realized she had to make more bears with other injuries (or bummers) as she calls them. Jenny says the best part of the Bummer Bear business is seeing pictures of children (or adults) with their bummer bear.

Child Life note: What a great way to explain to a child about open heart surgery. I know these can’t be washed, but giving them as a gift would be amazing.

Below you will find the link to order a bear. They are $46.00+free shipping. You can also buy them in bulk. Also, there is a second and third link. One leading to other bummer bears and the other is a link for Jenny’s story about the bear.

https://www.bummerbears.com/products/mended-heart-bear (link to buy)

https://www.bummerbears.com/pages/about (more about the bear)

https://www.bummerbears.com/collections/all (link to other bummer bears. Sadly, they are sold out, but you could probably email Jenny and ask about the others). The broken arm is another one that would be good for Child Life Specialist.

Until next time!