Hospital Visit Report – Thanks to all and Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays, everyone! This year, we almost certainly had a *record* year of donations for our 11th annual toy & gift drive for Palms West Children’s Hospital in Palm Beach County. Well done!! No child went without a gift – and young brothers and sisters VISITING their siblings in the hospital were ALSO able to choose a gift, because you were so generous – that was remarkable. Smiles were everywhere. We saw a wide array of young people – infants… toddlers… children… teenagers, right up to a young man in 9th grade in high school.
A few stories and children always personally affect me every year. I will share a few, briefly… – “Joey the IV”, a 4 month old boy in a small crib, whom had to be flown in from Okeechobee County by rescue helicopter (their local hospital didn’t have sufficient facilities). We don’t know his illness. But his young parents said they knew nobody here in West Palm – and they were deeply touched by a couple wagons full of gifts from strangers during this time of the year. We also gave the mom and dad a gift card that was generously donated to best buy to pick a movie or something to watch while at the hospital they were so touched.
Samuel, age 4. This young boy just got out of ICU (intensive care) a few hours before we arrived – his mother just sobbed, and asked us to pray that her “little man” might make it home in time for Christmas. He looked up at us, listening intently – and tugged on a tube under his gown, and said loudly, “I CAN’T go, Mom: I’M STUCK TO A WIRE!”
Jernanda, age 8. She was a young girl from Delray Beach… shy, but stared so deep at us. She said she was sad, because her mother hasn’t been able to visit her in a few days. Jernanda chose a baby doll in a pink stroller and my son and daughter helped her take it out of the box and put it together, and she LOVED having company…
Brianna, age 12. This young lady was completely surrounded by her mother, grandmother, an auntie, and her siblings… her mother explained Brianna had just had BACK SURGERY last Thursday, “from her head to her her bottom”. And today, she had taken her FIRST FOOTSTEP since her surgery. What a supportive family. Brianna chose a stuffed doggy, with big floppy ears to keep her company when she sleeps…
Hannah, age 9, 3rd grade. She chose a “MyMoxie” game and makeup. She was in school Friday, and suddenly had trouble breathing – Dad got the call that she felt like she was “drowning”. She was responding well to steroids, and just hoping to make it home for Christmas.
In ICU, we saw a 4-year boy named “PJ”. The minute PJ’s mother stepped into the hall out of her son’s room, she just lost it – and started crying so hard… whew. The sight of neighbors with bags and wagons of toys overwhelmed her and we were able to pray with her and give lot of hugs. She said this has been the hardest holiday of her life. She asked me to personally thank everyone who helped out both my work and the 912 project. because her son has a bacterial infection that he is losing a fight to, and he “will be here for a long, long time…”
As we celebrate the spirit of the holidays this December, just know that you personally *DID* make a difference this year – in the lives of a few local children and their families. Your generosity is powerful – and we really can touch people’s lives.
Happy holidays, to you and yours… Douglas Armstrong