On Friday, December 6, everyone’s invited to bring light to the lives of the patients at Levine Children’s Hospital. At 7:30 p.m., pediatric patients will shine flashlights out of the windows of their hospital rooms and wait for members of the community to shine flashlights back, sending their support, sweet dreams and hope for a brighter tomorrow.
The idea came from six-year-old Hazel, who asked her mom, Vanessa Birch, what children who are in the hospital do at Christmas. “It’s fitting that she asked,” says Birch. “Hazel spent the first two weeks of her life as a preemie in the NICU, and for as long as I can remember she has understood that there are children in the world who aren’t as healthy as she is, and who started their lives like she did: small, fragile, and fighting.”
“Recently, Hazel herself was diagnosed with a rare hip disease that made her even more aware that being a kid with a disease or an illness or a limitation can be isolating and challenging for even the toughest child,” continues Birch. “When she asked if she could do anything to help hospital-bound children during the holiday season, I knew we had to find a way to make this time of the year as joy-filled as possible for pediatric patients at Levine.”
Lights for Levine is modeled after a similar program Birch knew of at a hospital in Southeastern Michigan, where she was born and raised. “We talked to our friends at the Atrium Foundation, where Hazel has been in their Young Ambassador program, and they worked with us to make Lights for Levine a reality,” says Birch.
Those interested in participating should gather in Parking Lot A of Levine Children’s Hospital, located at 1000 Blythe Boulevard, around 7:00 p.m. on Friday. There will be cookies, cocoa, festive music and fun ways to give back to the patients at Levine. The event will last about an hour. Flashlights will be available on a first-come, first-served basis; attendees are also welcome to bring their own.
“From the special flashlights we will be handing out to attendees on a first-come-first-served basis to the holiday-themed activities we will have for our littlest light shiners to the festive atmosphere we will create for the pediatric patients to watch from their rooms,” says Birch, “the Atrium Foundation and the staff of Levine Children’s Hospital have gone the extra mile to make Lights for Levine a memorable event for the hospital’s youngest patients AND the Charlotte community, this year and for years to come.”
Hazel hopes to see as many people as possible from our community out on December 6 to make the holidays a little brighter for kids who need a little extra joy and light this year!