Kids helping kids
From lemonade stands to birthday parties, children find creative ways to give back to Le Bonheur
Every gift counts at Le Bonheur, but the most precious are the ones that come from children. Since the doors to Le Bonheur opened, children have brought their pennies to help make this special place possible. Some donations come from patients who just want to express their gratitude and others from children who are learning what it means to give and serve their community. Donations from children are typically directed to the areas of greatest need.
“Being in the hospital can be a challenging experience for kids. They’re missing their friends, the comforts of home and their routines. We use play to help the hospital seem more like home. Thanks to the generous gifts of these children, we’re able to make that possible,” said Child Life Director Jessica Kellough.
Check out some of the ways kids in our community are helping Le Bonheur.
Lucas Sawyer, 10, decided that his dad, Orthopedic Surgeon Jeff Sawyer, MD, had been so busy at work recently that the kids at Le Bonheur needed his help. So he set up a lemonade stand near the Greenline in Memphis. He raised $52 and recently gave the money to hospital President Meri Armour.
Emma-Kate Lucius wants to be a pediatric nurse when she grows up. Since she’s just 10 years old, Emma-Kate found a creative way to start helping sick kids now. She created flyers about supporting Le Bonheur that she gave out at church and local businesses. Emma-Kate, a Le Bonheur patient herself, even asked her homeschool group friends to help. Emma-Kate recently brought $100 and a bag of toys to help make hospital stays a little brighter for kids like her.
With a birthday just four days before Christmas, Maggie Dixon, 7, found a way to use her birthday to spread joy to families at FedExFamilyHouse. For several years now, the invitation to Maggie’s birthday asks attendees to bring a gift card to share with a family that has traveled a long distance for care at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. FedExFamilyHouse holds a special place in the Dixons’ hearts. Amy and Floyd, both FedEx employees, have volunteered and supported the house since 2010.
On the one year anniversary of the car accident Sophie and Emilie Wetick survived, the family made a special trip to Le Bonheur. Sophie, 5, brought items on the hospital’s wish list and items for the food pantry to the hospital. After 52 days in the hospital, Sophie wanted to say thank you to the caregivers who helped her recover.
Maggie Miller, Lucy Roaten, Ellie Bailey and Taylor McAdams sold lemonade and snow cones to their friends and neighbors. The girls presented their gift of $158.90 at a Le Bonheur Club meeting. Lucy said, “We decided to raise this money for Le Bonheur because they needed more than we did.”
Every year around Valentine’s Day, Treasure Thaxton, 14, makes a special delivery to Le Bonheur. To help sick children feel loved, Treasure brings teddy bears donated by local businesses and individuals near her hometown of Henderson, Tenn. As a baby, Treasure spent several weeks at Le Bonheur.
After Leeya Alperin of Memphis spent three weeks in the hospital following the diagnosis of a condition that affects her lymphatic system, she wanted to express her gratitude for Le Bonheur. Leeya rallied River City BBG, a Jewish youth organization, to raise $1,200 through a fashion show.
Amber Reed’s earliest Le Bonheur memory is selecting a toy from Bunny Lane before surgery. She was just 7 years old, but that moment of joy and comfort has driven the teen to give back. A few years ago, she brought several car loads of toys for Bunny Lane after organizing a toy drive at her school. Now as Miss Collierville 2017, Amber, 20, enjoys visiting patients and hosting events at the hospital.
For 14 years, the children at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis have collected toys for the hospital’s Bunny Lane. This year, the students donated 553 toys that patients will receive before they have surgery.
Abby Ryan, a longtime Le Bonheur patient, organized two fundraisers for the hospital with her friends in the FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) club at Blytheville High School. The group recently toured the hospital to see how its $500 donation helps kids.
This summer, rising 8th graders Annaleigh Eason and Eleanor Peters hosted a Le Bonheur night at Kendra Scott raising more than $700. The girls used their social networking skills to invite their friends and family to the Gives Back night. The girls wanted to thank the hospital that means so much to them. Eleanor counted on Le Bonheur when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Le Bonheur saved Annaleigh’s life and helped her learn to walk again after experiencing a rare form of Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Lilly Donnell of Tupelo, Miss., turned her 11th birthday party into a celebration for Le Bonheur. Not only did she ask her friend to bring gifts for the hospital, the girls assembled 70 goody bags for patients in the hospital. Each bag included a photo of the girls with the message “We believe in you. Get well soon.” Lilly, who wants to be a pediatrician, remembered a doctor’s appointment years ago at Le Bonheur and wanted to make sure other kids felt as comfortable and loved as she did.
Do you want to help kids at Le Bonheur? Here are three easy ways:
- Organize a drive to collect new toys or gift cards. See our list of needed items at lebonheur.org/wishlist.
- Host a fundraiser. Use your talents, skills and connections to support Le Bonheur. The sky is the limit. Learn more at lebonheur.org/fundraiser.
- Join an event already happening…
- Schools can join in the fun of Go Jim Go this fall. It’s a fun way to teach kids about helping others and WREG Meteorologist Jim Jaggers may visit your school. Contact David Henson at 901-287-5689 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Form a team for the 13th annual Pumpkin Run. It’s easy to raise money with our online fundraising site at pumpkinrun.org. Dress up in your Halloween costumes and bring your friends and family for the 5K, kids’ fun run and Boo Bash.
- Check out other upcoming events at lebonheur.org/events.