Last month I was invited to attend Camp Mighty in Palm Springs for a very special reason: AT&T was giving me (and nine other women) $3,500 to spend at an AT&T store to benefit the charity of our choice. It was a hard weekend for me to get away. I’d just had my first lonnnnng ER visit to get IV fluids and I was absolutely exhausted. But I had a chant that carried me through: Do it for the kids!
I decided to spend the money to benefit Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA. The children’s hospital not only holds the NICU Maddie was in, but also the pediatrics ward that she stayed at several times. After thinking about it and talking with Mike, I decided to make this donation geared more toward the kids on the pediatric floor, specifically the older kids. Being in the hospital over the holidays is the worst (Maddie’s NICU stay was over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years), and while a lot of stuffed animals and things are donated, the tweens and teens can sometimes be overlooked. Since Friends of Maddie gives donations that benefit the families (and we have a huge donation program we’re about to unroll), I was excited to be able to do something specifically for kids.
Yesterday my mom and I brought my thirty five $100 gift cards went to the AT&T store:
The staff was awesome. Todd, the manager, thought the whole thing was really cool, and was eager to help me. We put together a package of four tablets, 25 headphones, 25 portable speakers, some game consoles, universal chargers, and USB cables.
With our bags loaded with goodies, we headed to the hospital. Every time I’ve gone to this hospital for the last three months it’s been for IV fluids, so it was great to be able to walk in the normal entrance with armfuls of goodies.
We met with two members of the Child Life team (thanks Megan!) and went over everything in the bags. They were so happy to have stuff that would appeal to the older kids. It made me feel relieved that we’d decided to get something specifically for them (and the said universal chargers are the number one thing they’re asked for, so I was extra-glad I got so many of those!).
Thank you AT&T for letting my play Holiday Armadillo for a bunch of kids that could use an extra smile this time of year.
The lobby at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA.
Has a family spending a second time in the hospital during Christmas time (my 3 year old relapsed today, god if kills me to write those words) it’s awesome to see someone doing something for the older kids who unfortunately get left out at Christmas time, because let’s face it tween/teen gifts are a lot more expensive then little kid toys. This helps me to remember the Christmas spirit and not hate life right now. Thanks!
Praying for your little boy.
I’m sorry what you and your family are going through especially during this time of year. I will pray for you and your little boy. Stay strong and embrace every moment.
Oh Lisa! I am so heartbroken to hear this! You are all in my thoughts.
Erin Christine says:
I LOVE your references to “Friends”!! One of my absolute favorite episodes!
That donation is just amazing…I never thought about how older kids get overlooked in this situation, but I’m impressed you recognized this and set out to make it right.
Nice, and quite perfect!
Aww! This is so perfect! You’re right that older kids/teens do get overlooked. There will be some happy kids and grateful families because of your kindness. As they say here in the south where I live (but where I’m not from…) “Bless your heart!”
I love that you thought of the older kids. I also love that you met my cousin Megan! She is super great and awesome!
YES! Megan is AWESOME!
Nice! My company supports a local holiday charity and I got to go shopping to spend the $ the company pledged, as well as the cash we collected in the office, because the charity we donate to prefers gifts (and gift cards) to cash. It was so fun! Like you, I tried to focus on teen gifts because they always have a shortage.
You are truly awesome. I loved the one where you took Annie to shop for the kids and see what she picked out. This is the holiday spirit personified.
I too enjoy your Friends references. I can picture Ross now dressed up in the whole costume for Ben.
You’re so AWESOME!!!! How great it is to give back!! I’m sure all the kids will LOVE what you got. I know it took a lot for you to go and do so much activities….THANK YOU HEATHER – You and your Mama are the BEST!!!! I have a feeling you’re going to be on Santa’s good list this yr!!!
That is so awesome of ATT and they couldn’t have put it in a better person’s hands in my opinion. Great choice. I bet those kids will never forget. xoxo
Jackie C. says:
You are awesome. That is all.
Also I love the friends quotes and references too. One of the best shows of all time.
I kind of expected you to be dressed in the armadillo costume in the pics though. I guess since you’re feeling so yucky I’ll let it slide though.
I find it so touching that you had the insight to think of the teens. Many times, bumbling through those years can be hard enough regardless, but to be sick in a hospital, and over the holidays? Ugh! Every small gesture can make a huge difference. You’re awesome.
Great job Heather & AT&T! You are so right – the older kids do get left out of many gift donations, so what you did was so awesome and a good reminder to me to remember the older kids (I have little ones so it’s easy for me to buy little kid stuff).
michele wallace says:
Thats AWESOME Heather! Those pics brought some pics back from when my daughter passed away there 8 years ago – have’nt been back since then. I dont know you but have followed your blog for years and what you do for people is just fantastic. Hope your pregnancy is going good and H-A-P-P-Y H-O-L-I-D-A-Y-S to you and your family!!
You are amazing…how kind of you to think about the older kids too. Major good Karma headed your way Spohr family!!
Heather I think this is just the sweetest thing. After all you are going through and were not feeling your best, you did this for others. You made my day. Merry Christmas, love.debi
That was AWESOME!!! My daughter was 6 when treated for leukemia, and I remember that they always had tons of stuff for her, but were always short on ‘goodies’ for the teen set. You were wonderful to think of that – and I’m sure the teens will love the ‘goods’! My daughter is now almost 17, and that’s a good reminder of a way we can ‘give back’ to her wonderful children’s hospital…I’ll have to watch for clearance stuff for teens during the year!
Sweet that you thought of the older kids with your purchases! Very cool that you were able to do something unrelated to IV fluids at the hospital.
That is awesome!! When I was younger, I spent a lot of time in the peds unit and it gets pretty boring pretty quick. I’m sure you made a lot of children’s stays a little brighter!
You are amazing to do this! You make this world a better place.
Oh my goodness you are beautiful. I’m thinking of you a lot, Heather Spohr. Specially as we go into Christmas, without the people we love.
You are so gorgeous and giving. Power and love to you XXXX
You are awesome! And really hit the nail on the head in reaching out to the older kids! My mom worked @ Seattle’s Childrens’ for many years & I helped out over a few Christmases…lots of people donate cute things to the little ones but older kids are often overlooked. Thank you for being YOU: you have such a beautiful heart!
yay for giving back, yay for remembering the older kids, yay for “Friends” references, and YAY for Child Life! my husband is a Child Life Specialist, and I’m so proud of the work he does every day with kids and families. merry Christmas, Spohrs!