July 1 - Nicklaus Children's Hospital

The For a Day Foundation kicked off Miami Children's Hospital's (Now Nicklaus Children's Hospital) new playroom hours.  They were thrilled that we had reached out to them, as we are one of their favorite events.  

It was such a great experience.   We had a make up station, donated by Mary Kay, a nail polish station, 3 crafts (a princess necklace, a sash, and a photo frame), and a coronation area where photos were taken for the girls.

For the boys we had a Knight theme. They had a frame craft, a shield craft, a decorate-your-own-cape craft, and a decorate-your-own-knight mask. We also had a special knighting ceremony area for photos. 

We prepared for 20 boy and 20 girls and boy were we close! We handed out all 20 tiaras and goodie bags and had about 15 boys.  We had a lot of room visits at this event.  We had 2 oncology patients who were not cleared for the playroom; Mrs. Florida and I gave her a special visit, the other patient was visited by our Rapunzel princess and another volunteer.

Our patient (8 yrs old) had a sign in her room stating it was her last chemo! We were so happy for her.  She showed us her pageant wave and enjoyed the crafts we brought to her bed.  She loved her tiara and said she had been in pageants in her hometown.  She wanted to share her crown with her sisters; she was very sweet. 

We opened up the event to all the other children in the hospital.  We had many post op patients. One nurse took Mrs. Florida, our Knight, and our 2 male volunteers to visit a young man (16 years old), was recovering from his 32nd surgery.  The boy enjoyed meeting Mrs. Florida, and having "guy time" with our male volunteers who hung out with him to help him feel more like a regular teenager.  They did crafts and made some for the staff. 

It always amazes me to see the patients' generous spirits.  The nurses were so grateful to be able to do room visits and to cheer up a lot of the post op patients who were still not feeling well and unable to attend even though they wanted to be there.  We enjoyed taking the fun to their rooms. 

We also had two unique events within our day at the hospital.  We had Gymboree donate their time, and Gymbo the clown/jester to come and brighten up the playroom with bubbles, songs, games, parachute play, and dancing outside.  We had patients light up with these activities; it also was great fun for siblings spending their summer vacation visiting a sick brother or sister. 

We had 3 siblings attend.  The siblings were so sweet, they did crafts for their brothers/sisters and friends they've made in the hospital who were too sick or unable to come to the playroom. 

One of my favorite things about this event was our new "Parent's Corner."  We had a volunteer donate two massage therapist chairs for 10-minute free massages for the parents.  I have always been so impacted by how exhausted and scared the parents are at these events.  It never occurred to me till now to do something for THEM.  They love seeing their kids smile and play, but it was nice to give them an opportunity to escape for a minute or so and do something they could enjoy, if only for a few minutes.  We had coffee and donuts for them and a seating area outside for their little getaway. 

This was my first event as a parent, and on a very personal level, it was nice to be able to see them relax for a moment.  There is nothing worse than having a sick child.  The event was from 10-4pm, and was truly a success.  The playroom was very busy and all 9 of our volunteers were always with a patient giving them the one on one attention they deserve.  The kids enjoyed Mrs. Florida and the costume characters and it was truly a day to remember.  I cannot wait to do this again in a few months!