For a child, being hospitalized is not easy. Hospitalized children leave the comfort of home to be surround by unfamiliar hospital equipment and strangers, which can be scary. Thankfully, there are people who make sure every child feels special during their hospitalization.
The Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach Auxiliary is a fundraising group that volunteers and organizes activities and events to support children who are hospitalized at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. Their work helps bring joy to children as they maneuver through the ups and downs of treatment.
Every month, members of the Auxiliary volunteer to host a Birthday Club for children who are hospitalized on their birthday. They work closely with the Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program to make sure each child with a birthday that month has gifts hand-delivered to their room.
Shirley Dement has been a member of the Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach Auxiliary for 20 years, helping prepare and deliver the gifts to children at Miller Children’s & Women’s.
“We have four members come each month to help prepare and deliver the gifts,” says Shirley. “Each child with a birthday that month gets two gifts from our collection.”
In addition to providing birthday gifts, the Auxiliary also provides arts and crafts for the patients and their families. Cheryl Rodi, one of the Auxiliary’s volunteers, sees firsthand how their work helps the patients’ families.
“The children love the crafts of course, but you’d be surprised how appreciative the parents are as well,” says Cheryl. “They love doing the crafts and coloring themselves since it helps put them at ease while their child is hospitalized.”
The gifts and crafts the Auxiliary provides come from a combination of community donations and funding from the hospital. The Miller Children’s Hospital Auxiliary is very grateful for every donation they receive as it goes towards ensuring every patient feels loved and cared for on their special day, despite being hospitalized.
“Those who want to help the Auxiliary can bring new toys that are $10 to $15 in value to our gift shop in the MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center lobby,” says Shirley. “Those donations are how we are able to provide gifts and crafts to children year-round.”