Donated Stuffed Animals Bring Smiles to Young Patients
Lily VanConant-Eubank, from Midland, cradles one of the numerous stuffed animals purchased through funds donated by The Alden and Vada Dow Family Foundations.
Adorable impish monkeys, soft pink bears and even some cuddly brown donkeys are finding their way into the welcoming arms of children receiving care at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland.
Thanks to a $20,000 donation to the MidMichigan Health Foundation from The Alden and Vada Dow Family Foundations, approximately 3,000 stuffed animals have been purchased through the Vada B. Dow Memorial Toy Fund to comfort children during health care testing and treatment. One such area is the Medical Center’s Emergency Department.
“Unfortunately the sound of children crying is not all that unexpected in a Medical Center emergency room,” admitted Deanna Knopp, R.N., manager, Emergency Department, MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland. “Children become frightened, tense and upset when faced with an illness or injury. These stuffed animals help the children to focus on something other than their fear or pain.”
It is this refocusing that is not only benefitting the children but the staff as well. “It is far easier to stitch a calm child clutching a stuffed bear than a child who is crying inconsolably clinging to their mother,” said Knopp.
The comfort these stuffed animals have brought has also been extended to anxious parents. According to Robin Nelson, manager, patient relations and privacy, many of them have taken the time to share their appreciation. Comments have included “The stuffed animal was wonderful; what a great idea; our child even took it to bed with him that night!”
Nelson noted another result of this program has been the pay it forward acts of kindness.
“We had a mother and son drop off two stuffed animals after his visit because he wanted to ‘help get happy another child.’ We even had a young man conduct a stuffed animals’ drive for his Eagle Scout Service Project remembering how much it meant to be given a stuffed animal while he received care here when he was younger. It is incredible the impact these stuffed animals have made and continue to make.”
Those interested in donating new stuffed animals may call the MidMichigan Health Foundation at (989) 839-1932.