In 2005, Barbara Sayed began funding a small project where she would gift Mylar balloons to children at a hospital in Oakland, California. Her goal was to provide young patients with cheerful Mylar balloons in hopes that it would make for a comforting experience while they were hospitalized. She named her project Balloons for Luv.
Barbara was inspired by her late mother’s incredible heart. She watched her mother touch many lives through random acts of kindness and wanted to somehow continue her great generosity. “While she is not here physically her love and acts of kindness live on through Balloons for Luv."
Five years after Barbara began her projects, Balloons for Luv was approved as a 501 c3 non-profit organization and has partnered with the Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach for over 11 years.
The Child Life Program at Miller Children’s & Women’s is dedicated to making the hospital experience a more positive one for children of all ages, and Balloons for Luv is one of the organizations that supports their efforts.
Balloons for Luv provides all the necessary equipment to Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital by arranging a station with a helium tank, mylar balloons, weights and ribbon.
Child life specialists can access the station at any time to select a cheerful balloon that fits the needs of each patient. They use the balloons to celebrate birthdays, treatment milestones, and other special occasions. The balloons can also be used as a distraction tool for a child who is undergoing a medical test or procedure. No matter where a child is on their health care journey, either in the hospital or receiving follow-up care in the outpatient setting at the Cherese Mari Laulhere Children’s Village, the balloons are available to them.
“It’s small gestures like receiving a special balloon that really make a difference in the experience a child has in the hospital,” says Rita Goshert, director, Child Life Program, Miller Children’s & Women’s. “We’re so lucky to have a partner like Balloons for Luv that makes these moments possible for our patients and their families.”
Regardless of how long a child is hospitalized, it can be an intimidating place for most of their visit. Therefore, a nonprofit like Balloons for Luv creates an uplifting experience for patients and puts the parents more at ease.
“Hearing stories about parents seeing their child happy with their balloon, makes me happy too,” says Barbara Sayed. “Miller Children’s & Women’s has always been very supportive of Balloons for Luv and it’s nice to see our work make a difference.”