Gina Gippner will be contributing to Kidz Corner on IF mag over the next months. Gina and Cat met online and have formed a mutual admiration club of one another. Gina’s story of how she came to make stuffed animals for children in hospitals is a wonderful tale. Please welcome Gina Gippner!
Children in Need of Comfortby Gina Gippner
There’s a sign I have that hangs over my doorway that reads: FAMILY, Home is where your story begins.
Every morning, as I begin a new day, I look up and read it. It reminds me that every day is new, and by the end of the day, I will have a new story to share with those I love. I’m blessed to have a husband, three children and a granddaughter.
“I have a family!” What a wonderful statement that is to be able to say.
Decades ago my life took a turn and I had to spend years in and out of hospitals. I remember wondering why my body didn’t want to work as well as my mind seemed to. Upon one visit I decided I was going to see if I could figure out the lesson of my reoccurring hospital visits. There had to be more than me that kept bringing me back?
One afternoon, after surgery, I was placed in the children’s ward of the hospital. There was no room for me in the adult ward, so there I recovered next to a young girl who had just survived brain surgery to remove a tumor. Hooked up to an I.V. I watched her for almost a week when it occurred to me that she had yet to have a visitor.
A few days later I asked her nurse where her family was and she told me she had no one. She was in Foster Care, and her Foster Care family had many children to tend to and could not come to visit. That same afternoon her nurse came back with a little stuffed toy for the little girl.
I watched as she came to the young girl’s bedside, brushed her forehead with her fingers and said, “Honey. I have a gift for you.” She handed her a stuffed-plush toy and then walked out. I watched as this young girl looked over her newfound friend, and then was surprised when she tossed it across the room.
Puzzled by what I had witnessed I got out of bed and went and picked up her toy. I carried it back to her and asked, “Honey. What’s wrong? Why did you throw this?”
I looked over her stuffed-plush dog, and realized it had a rip in its ear. As I was thinking about what to say to her I looked over at the table next to her bed, and there was a roll of gauze. I took the gauze, wrapping it gently around the stuffed toys head, and when I was done I handed it back to her and said, “Honey. It’s not broken. It’s got an ‘owie’ like you. This is yours. He’s your ‘OwieBowWowie.’”
The little girl took her new friend, gave him a kiss and at that exact moment I realized the lesson I was there to learn.
Within the United States of America there are an estimated 20 million children per year who are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Out of those 20 million, there are a little less than 9 million children who have become a ward-of-the-state, and have no family of their own to come and comfort them.
Now, having knowledge of something and acting upon ones knowledge is two very different things. Knowledge is only powerful when we choose to use it!
I chose, “it!”
Now I need your help. For the past 17 years I’ve been giving gifts of comfort and cannot keep up with all the children who are in need of a friend. I have partnered with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for a period of one year, and they are in need of 12,000 gifts of comfort.
As a child is admitted into the hospital they will each be given their own “gift of comfort”. A gift from a stranger can become a gift from a new friend. A person who has the ability to change the life of a child, changes the course of the future.
I learned long ago that I don’t have give birth to a child to love a child. All I have to do is comfort one. The pride and comfort of our lives comes from giving our heart away.
Will you give your heart to a child who needs a friend?
Henry Ward Beecher once wrote, “Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.” I agree.
To learn more about: Just Mom, Inc. and how to give your own gift of comfort, please log onto: www.justmom.net, or call (805) 497-0534.
Thanks for taking the time to hear my story,
Just Mom Inc.
PO Box 6533
Thousand Oaks, CA. 91359