We added a couple more hospitals to our NICU Surprise boxes this year, All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida was our second hospital this year to receive a surprise box. The NICU received a box from Gracie's Gowns with NICU Smocks, blankets, and crochet hats. Each of the items inside their box was made by different volunteers, which not only shows the love and support we have received this year, but that together we can accomplish so much to help children across the world have a better hospital experience.
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was our third hospital this year to receive a NICU surprise box. The hospital is one of the leading hospitals not only in the United States, but the world for specialty related children's healthcare. It is also one of the hospitals most frequently used by children we have made gowns for, with some families traveling hundreds of miles in order for their children to have testing and procedures done here. In their surprise box, we had a couple small blankets left to donate, some lovely crochet hats, and of course NICU Smocks. All of these items were made by many different volunteers as well, which we are so blessed to be able to send them out.
These crochet hats included in the box have something so precious about them, they were made by the mother of Camryn Renea...a beautiful, loving, spunky, little girl that we made a ladybug gown for in 2013. She passed away October 24, 2013 due to complications from her congenital heart defect, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Because Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is one of the top hospitals for treating children with complex congenital heart defects like Camryn's, we wanted to share some of these hats with their NICU. We have a few more to be sent with infant gown requests this fall and winter too. Coming up next on the blog...another NICU Smock donation with an extra special story.
Before the massive part of our move, I was able to send out a couple of boxes to other organizations that help some of the same children we have worked with, and are also belonging to the families of children that we have made a gown for as well.
First being this precious little angel, who is the face, namesake, and inspiration behind Audrey's Army. Our gown not only helped Audrey through her many hospital stays, testings and procedures, but her mother and grandmothers, have been making homemade items to fill gift bags, some of which include a hospital gown as well.
Audrey's family, has taken the terrible experience of having their child taken from them and turned it into a blessing to other families in their local area.
Were we stepped in to help was in donating our leftover knit fabrics to Audrey's Army to make their own baby leg warmers from. I had found a super cute pattern with instructions online and thought they could benefit from creating some cute ones of their own to add into their care packages, as you can see in Audrey's photo above, she definitely sported them during her hospital stay. And they can add just the right touch to an otherwise miserable experience. I was going to make them and donate, but finding the extra time with moving, just wasn't going to happen.
The other item we were able to send in their donation package of fabric was the very last piece of fabric I had from Audrey's gown. When I made this quilt block I didn't even realize it had her gown fabric in it. In piecing together the trophies for our golf tournament, I saw this quilt block again and immediately looked at the bottom fabric from Audrey's gown and knew that it belonged to their family. This is the second one we have sent to families that have had a child pass away and their fabric was inside a quilt block. It is the little things that matter most, and this is just one of those little things that I cannot justify going to anyone, but the family.
Healing Helpers also received a box from us of some of our remnant fabrics from gowns once again. The fabrics are used for the pouches inside the animal, so smaller pieces are great for them and of course, all sorts of prints are welcomed. This time we had more character prints and such that we were able to include.
For those who haven't heard about Healing Helpers before, they have stuffed animals that have surgeries performed, g-tubes, shunts, scars added, and so much more, to represent everything a child has been through. They are not a nonprofit organization, but they do accept donated items and animals and in return can lower the cost, and even give them away for to some families as well.
With each of our moves, my little ones have been so gracious to give up some of their gently used, practically never played with stuffed animals. And these are the ones we have sent to Healing Helpers in this go round of donations. In the past we have even collected them or purchased really cheaply new ones to be sent over to Healing Helpers as well.
That little curly bear in the top row - was one of mine from high school when Build-a-Bear first opened. We went to the one in Myrtle Beach, waited in line for at least an hour in the sun and heat just to make an animal...yes, I am a big kid sometimes. With our move, it was something that not only I needed to pass along, but wanted to have a far greater purpose than being donated, so I added it into the box and I hope whomever can be blessed with it, truly loves it.