The holidays are coming. Deny it all you want, but it sneaks up quickly, filling your calendar with umpteen things to do. And beyond thinking about shopping, parties and all of the craziness this time of year brings, our thoughts turn to the mountain of toys that will be under the tree and just where the heck we’re going to fit them in playrooms already bursting at the seams. Right now is a perfect time to clean a little house and make room for the toy onslaught to come. But instead of selling them online or dropping them off at the local thrift store or daycare (all great ideas, mind you) have you every thought of giving your toys a second life by giving them to kids fighting for theirs? The pediatric ward at your local hospital is a perfect place to donate your pre-loved toys, books, movies, video games, etc & so on.
How do I know this? I speak from experience. My family has been in pediatric wards in Regina, Saskatoon and Edmonton since May of this year. Our seven-year-old son Harrison was struck with an unknown virus that rapidly ravaged his body. We noticed his eyes were a little yellow on May 8th and took him to the Regina emergency and have been in the hospital ever since. After short stints in Regina and Saskatoon hospitals we were sent to Edmonton, where he received a life saving live liver transplant from his mother on May 30th. About a month after the surgery we discovered the same virus wiped out his bone marrow, so he we have been in Edmonton ever since, receiving treatments and recuperating. It has been a long, hard, scary road that we could not have gone through without amazing doctors and the loving support of family, friends and complete strangers. We hope to be home soon, but the hospital and Edmonton Ronald McDonald House have been our home for Harrison, his brother, my wife and me for the last six months.Harrison trick-or-treating at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton
Spending all our time at the hospital was difficult. Beyond the obvious stresses of an ill child, we needed to find a way to fill the time for both him and his brother. There are playrooms, dvds and videos games for the kids, and Child-Life workers who help keep the kids busy. These playrooms are the perfect place for the toys your kids no longer play with? If they are clean and not too banged up, they will be played with and enjoyed by an ill kid and their siblings. The same goes for those old DVDs your kids used to watch over and over again, but now are gathering dust. When my son couldn’t leave his room we rapidly made our way through the available DVDs. Have an old game system or video games? They will also find a great home there.
Donating is easy. Contact your local hospital to find out the best way. And don’t just dump all your old stuff. Be choosy. Think about what toys your kid would want to play with if you had to spend time there. Broken or dirty ones? Not likely. And, while the toys will be cleaned before going to the playroom, that doesn’t mean you need to deliver them dirty. Give them a wipe down and, if you can, a run through the dishwasher. With a few easy steps you can both make room in your house and make a difference in the lives of ill children and your families.
Still in a Giving Mood? – Sorry, this has nothing to do with the above post, but if you are still in a giving mood, the best thing you can give is the gift of life by becoming a blood, marrow and organ donor. I know firsthand how just a half hour of your time every few months can save countless lives. Visit the Canadian Blood Services site at www.blood.ca or call 1-888-2 DONATE for more information or to book an appointment. If you are interested in becoming a marrow donor, visit www.onematch.ca . For organ donation, you can visit The Canadian Transplant Association’s website at www.organ-donation-works.org for information on registering to become a donor in your province. Discover the huge difference you can make when you truly give of yourself.