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This week I am participating in 2016 Children’s Miracle Network Annual Fundraising Campaign, and I wanted to share some of my recollections about hospital stays that we have had to go through with our family.

My oldest daughter was born with a tumor, and had to go through a number of surgeries to help manage her conditions. Now that I look back at that time, I sigh, and can hardly believe that this was something that we have endured in the past.

That moment when you get a diagnosis, whatever it might be, for your child, your life immediately turns upside down. There is nothing that you can do – there is no turning back. You try to close your eyes, and think that this is only a dream, that you want to get back to that moment a minute ago, when you were worried, and you did not know, but you can’t. You realize that this is your new reality now, and you have to somehow cope with your new role of a caregiver, and have to follow what you have to do, and try to stay sane.

Before my daughter was diagnosed, we were in a regular hospital facility doing imaging, and that is when a doctor told us what had to happen next. They have found a tumor in my daughter’s head, a size of an egg, and this is a newborn we are talking about, and they were going to operate her. They were going to operate a newborn. They say, well, it’s not like it’s brain surgery – well, in our case it was!

In that one paragraph, right after the diagnosis was given, we were told we would need to be transported to a Children’s hospital in our area, and there were two of them where we lived. We picked one at random, because we knew that we would be in good hands regardless.

That day we ended up meeting the team of surgeons who were going to operate on our baby the next day, and we started on our journey of disease mitigation and management. This has been a long road, and looking back I cannot thank the staff of the hospitals enough – they have given us hope, and gave my daughter the life she deserves – she is now a very lively, happy teen. I don’t know what would our experience have been like had we not been lucky enough to have access to top quality care in a Children’s Hospital in our area, and get the help we needed.

Despite the lack of funds everywhere, the hospital was always equipped with everything we needed to make it easier for us to care for our daughter. From teams of volunteers, to highly dedicated staff, professional doctors, and nurses, to state of the art equipment, we have always felt that we have been well taken care of.

Following the first surgery my daughter went on to have a second one, and now has a chronic condition that we have to watch. She gets regular check-ups at the Children’s Hospital in our area, and there are always great specialists there who can help her stay healthy, and enjoying life.

Now as she is growing, we have fewer needs, but I want to talk about our typical hospital visits.

When we come to a hospital now for clinic visits and imaging, we often end up spending the whole morning/afternoon. I am always amazed with the organization that Children’s Hospitals have, with lots of activities available in the waiting rooms, and volunteers helping you go through the process. When we have to wait between appointments we often take our daughter to a play room where she usually gets to do a hands-on craft, or enjoys some quiet time with books, board games, or bubbles.

When we have to do some imaging studies, there is often a specialist available who accompanies our daughter through her tests with all the stories and explanations to help with minor sedation or coping through IVs and procedures. I am glad this service is available, and we have always used it.

As we go through our regular check-ups, the staff is always very knowledgeable, and tries to supply us with the information that we need to continue providing the best possible care for our daughter.

Some families might be lucky, and have never needed to go to a specialized hospital to care for their little ones. They may not imagine what happens behind the doors of the hospital, and how much anxious and nervous parents rely on the network of healthcare professionals to help babies and children get better, and bounce back to their normal lives.

Other parents are not as lucky. A good thing is, most children don’t stay sick forever, and they recover, and do bounce back, often much faster than sick adults do. Families get back to normal, or somewhat normal living, and move on, but that hospital stay time is always a reality for someone, every moment. While at a hospital there is so much parents and patients need – volunteers to help you care for your baby while you need some sleep, or have a bite. New equipment and research to help and explore new techniques and treatment methods. Improving the facility, training the staff, making happiness possible for so many children who wouldn’t be able to obtain care and recovery.

We tend to remember specific faces in the community we know and meet, who are raising funds to help them with their medical needs. We remember the hospital stay and the time there, and then we tend to forget until next time. But this hospital stay is always going to be a need for someone, and the efforts of fund-raising are always ongoing.

Have you ever volunteered at a Children’s Hospital? Do you regularly support Children’s Hospitals in your area?

There is a chance for you to help now with 2016 Annual Fundraising Campaign –

 

  • #HelpKidsLiveBetter by donating to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at your local Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club today!
  • You can join your community in donating to your local children‘s hospital at a Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club near you!
  • Help make miracles happen for kids when you donate at your checkout today.
  • Your donations help children’s hospitals provide the best care for the kids.
  • Every minute 62 children enter a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital for treatment; your donations ensure these hospitals can provide the best care for these children.
  • Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in the U.S. provide more than $3.5 billion in charitable care every year.
  • Last year Wal-Mart customers and Sam’s Club members, like you, helped raise more than $60 million to#HelpKidsLiveBetter
  • Every dollar raised at your local Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club goes directly to your local Children’s Miracle NetworkHospital.
  • Since 1987 Wal-Mart customers and Sam’s Club members together with store associates have raised nearly $1 billion forChildren’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
  • Show us how you #HelpKidsLiveBetter by posting about your fundraising efforts using this hashtag in your own social media channels.

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