Christmas is a time for celebration for most children but there are some very seriously ill children who must spend the holidays at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital in Lexington.
Girl Scout Maggie McMillin decided she wanted to do something to help them. She thought a Teddy Bear from the popular store, Build-A-Bear would be the perfect gift. Maggie was cautioned by her mother Susan, that getting approval through the national corporation would be a daunting task, but she was not deterred.
“Who doesn’t love a trip to Build-A-Bear?” said Maggie enthusiastically. “I thought it would be fun for the Girl Scouts and help the kids at the same time.”
Build-A-Bear agreed with her and on Dec. 8, the members of Troop 2020, with leader Stacey Feldman, arrived at Build-A-Bear with enough donations to make 76 bears for the children at the hospital. The girls in the troop were disappointed to hear that because of health concerns for the patients, they would not be able to deliver the bears to children themselves.
But Jennifer Guilliams, Family Life coordinator for Kentucky Children’s Hospital, said the bears will be well received.
“We see lots of kids of different ages here at the hospital and most of them have one thing in common…having a comfort item is very important,” said Guilliams. “Many times families must come to the hospital quickly, and in the rush of it all, forget to bring the patient’s very special fuzzy friend from home.
“Without a comfort item, kids in the hospital can be more scared and having something to hold on to can be so very important,” continued Guilliams.”Because of their amazing donation, dozens of children will be less afraid, sad and lonesome.”
To make the donation even more special, on Dec. 23, Santa will be delivering the bears to the children himself.
The Girl Scouts approached the project without working toward a particular badge, but after looking at the requirements, the whole troop earned more credit toward being awarded the Bronze Pin. This pin is the highest award for Junior Girl Scouts and signifies the scout has gained the leadership and planning skills required to follow through with a project that makes a positive difference in her world.
Guilliams is thankful for the gifts from the girls and likes the idea of children helping children.
“It just proves that it makes no difference your size or age...if you have the drive and compassion to help someone else...you can move mountains,” said Guilliams. “Christmas is about seeing the beauty in acts of kindness and supporting others in need. The Girl Scouts have done this for our patients and families.”
The children’s hospital accepts donations year round. Toys, knitted blankets and monetary donations go directly toward providing comfort items to the children. They also accept cloth dolls that help children learn about the medical procedures they are having.
Jackie Anders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.