Wednesday, December 31, 2014

We Have a New Project...Will You Help Us?

Eli's MVPs is beginning a new project.  We have been so blessed in so many ways.  We have always said we started Eli's MVPs for two reasons:  1) find ways to help Eli through his struggles now and as an adult and 2) to help others.  We have been able to do some small things for others over the years, but now are ready for our biggest project yet.  We are having a Hospital Donation Drive. 

Over the years we've spent many, many months at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital.  More months than I care to count!  Over the course of those months we've been helped by the hospital staff and the Child Life department in many ways.  We've been given toys for Eli to keep him happy during procedures, to entice him to participate during therapy sessions, or even just to pass time on a slow afternoon (not that we had many of those!).  Zachary wasn't forgotten and often received a toy or book when he came to visit Eli.  Bryan and I were given many toiletry items that we either didn't have time to pack or ran out of during our lengthy admissions.  We were also given gift cards for restaurants close to the hospital and sometimes even gas cards to help us with visits and travel.  I have lost count of the number of blankets, stuffed animals, books, toys, and other items we've received over the years from the hospital alone.  However, as we go through items I can usually recall the occasion which each item was given to us. 

Also, throughout our many admissions we've noticed items that are often used but not necessarily supplied by hospital funds.  For example, Eli always had body wash/baby shampoo available to him from the hospital, but rarely was baby lotion available.  We began packing our own large bottle and labeling it with our name so he could be slathered in it after a bath.  It's very important to keep his skin moisturized because hospitals are so dry.  Often, the nurses and aides will take turns buying large bottles of lotion and keeping it in their lounge.  When giving a bath, they'll put some in a small cup and take that to the patient's room.  Other items I found out the nurses bought were hair detangler (especially for little girls for whom thorough hair washings are difficult), nail polish, hair bows, ball caps, etc.  Those items are mainly for kiddos on ventilators.  They help make the child look more natural and it may ease some of the discomfort parents and siblings feel when seeing the patient on all that machinery. 

Some of the things we used often were items that were on loan to us, but were very instrumental in keeping Eli content.  These items include a portable DVD player, movies, use of an iPad, and many toys in the beloved play room (including the Cozy Coupe car that he thought of as his own!). 

Our goal with this Hospital Donation Drive is to purchase items to donate to the hospital so they can be given to patients and their families to help them through their tough times of illness or need.  We are asking for your help with this project.  Here is a list we've complied based on our own observations, input from staff, and the hospital website donation request page. 

Infant/Toddler, Preschool/School Age, and Teen Suggestions:

- baby lotion, spoons, and bibs                                              
- infant, toddler, & child size toothbrushes
- musical crib toys or toys that play lullabies                         
- infant toys (rattles, musical toys)
- board games                                                                         
- Play-Doh
- wooden puzzles                                                                   
- crayons, coloring books, markers, paper, stickers     
- superhero action figures                                                       
- Matchbox & Hot Wheels cars and sets       
- Barbies & accessories                                                          
- journals
- nail polish & manicure sets                                                  
- DVDs (especially teen interest)                   
- building kits                                                                         
- bath & body care products                          
- anything to help little ones breathe deeply and blow (bubbles, small pinwheels, kazoos, party favors)
- anything Colts or Pacers (i.e. hats, shirts, pennants, bobble heads, jewelry)
- popular character toys (i.e. Dora, Sponge Bob, PAW Patrol, Thomas the Train, Disney princesses & other Disney characters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

 Comfort Items:

- kid themed pillow cases                  
- fleece blankets                     
- dolls or stuffed animals                   
- pajamas and onesies (all sizes)
- character slippers                 
- socks (especially ones w/grip on bottom)

Parental and Miscellaneous Item Suggestions:

- travel size toiletry items (shampoo, soap, toothbrushes & toothpaste)
- "luxury" travel size toiletry items (lotion, deodorant, hair conditioner, floss &/or mouthwash)
- stress balls                                        
- chap stick                             
- gift cards to restaurants       

This list is just some suggestions.  Other items are welcome but please remember any items donated must be brand new due to infection control concerns for hospitalized patients.  You may also donate money so we can purchase needed items or to be combined with other donations and purchase larger items (such as portable DVD players, Wii and PlayStation games, new release DVDs, etc).  Please remember that the hospital has patients ranging from newborns to eighteen year olds, so a variety is important.  If you donate money, please contact us directly, don't use the collection boxes for monetary donations. 

We are working to finalize drop off sites but currently we will have collection boxes at the following locations:  Daviess County Abstract Company (4th floor German American Bank) and Holiday Inn Express (across from Cherry Tree Plaza).  Or you may contact Eli's MVPs (812-254-7359 or to arrange for drop off, pick up, or with any questions you may have.  We plan on collecting items until Friday 2/6/15 so we can deliver them to the hospital the following week....which just happens to be Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week (convenient how that worked out, hmmm???).  We are also printing fliers with the suggested items and drop off locations.  We will be looking for places to display those fliers so any offers of help will be appreciated.  Also, if your business is willing to be a drop off location, please contact us as soon as possible so we can get a collection box to you.  We're hoping to have the boxes available beginning the first week of January. 
This is a project we have talked about for a long time and are finally in a position to execute.  It really means a lot to us to give back to a place that has given us so much.  Peyton Manning Children's Hospital employees and staff have saved Eli's life multiple times, made us feel at home, treated us like family, prayed with us, cried with us, celebrated with us, adopted our family for Christmas, and earned the highest respect from us.  Through that facility we have made lasting friendships with staff and other families.  To be able to repay them in this small way and know we are possibly bringing a moment, however brief, of happiness to a patient or a patient's loved one is very rewarding.  Please consider being a part of that.  What a better way to start a new year than by helping hospitalized children?  Thank you in advance for helping. 

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