During my junior year at Michigan State University, I got involved in the club StudentsCare – a student organization composed of an incredible group of college students volunteering in the pediatric playroom at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan, aiding Child Life Specialists. The reason I decided to join StudentsCare is because my younger sister, Mia, spent lots of time in the hospital as a child. Mia had Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, which is an extra electrical pathway in the heart causing a rapid heartbeat. Growing up, I saw the impact this had on my sister so when presented with the opportunity, I wanted to make a difference in other kids' lives. The children that we spend time with each week are stripped of their regular eating and sleeping habits, forced to miss school for extended periods of time, and in turn, spend less time with friends their own age. It is imperative that hospitalized children retain some normalcy in their lives. Through play, StudentsCare is able to ensure these children can do so. It was not until I started spending time on the fifth floor of Sparrow Hospital that I fully realized the importance of playtime. As is true for people of all ages and walks of life, the children's attitudes improve immensely when the StudentsCare volunteers and I listen to their stories, praise their accomplishments, or merely smile at them. Whether we are silently coloring, or roaring with laughter over my dreadful video game skills, the time we spend together momentarily makes us forget about life’s hardships.
I am now a senior at Michigan State Unviersity, and I will be attending medical school in the fall. My experiences on the pediatric floor at Sparrow Hospital have solidified that medicine is the right career path for me. I have learned that the role of a physician is multidimensional - caring and curing go hand in hand. As a volunteer, my responsibilities deal with "caring." While the treatment is essentially the reason for the patient's stay, the care helps the patient get through each day. Donating to this incredible organization would immensely help StudentsCare volunteers continue to bring joy to hospitalized children not only at Michigan State University, but at hospitals affiliated with StudentsCare throughout the United States! Please consider contributing to this amazing cause.
Did you know that just this year, 40,000 kids will be treated for cancer in the U.S? That's 40,000 children who will undergo long hospital stays and brutal treamtments.
The effects of long-term illness on children are far from just physical. While many people are aware of the ravaging physical toll long-term illnesses take on the body, there are very few interventions that specifically address the psychological and emotional effects. The American Psychological Association found that children battling long-term illnesses, like cancer, also face long-term social, emotional, and behavioral challenges as a result.
Our student Hospital Buddies commit to spending a minimum of 3 hours a week with children in long-term hospital care. Buddies assemble care kits with items that bring children comfort. They create personalized photo books so families can commemorate special events, even in the hospital. They create decorative door signs that help normalize the hospital environment for children. They celebrate birthdays, end-of-chemo parties, and holidays.
So far, 75 StudentsCare volunteers have provided support to over 800 patients and families, totaling over 20,000 volunteer hours. Additionally, 530 students are currently on the waiting list to become volunteers.
By giving this holiday season, you can help us reach our $25,000 goal so we can get these students off the waitlist and into hospitals where their support is needed most.
Give $15 to bring a smile to a child in the hospital: Each dollar brings more smiles to kids when they need it most!
Give $50 to train a buddy for a child: $50 helps cover the costs of training and support for our student-volunteers.
Give $100 to help a child celebrate "End-of-Chemo" in style: $100 gives a child a party they will remember forever!
Together, we can improve the hospital experience for kids.