Once a year, the patient playroom at Seattle Children’s transforms. Usually it’s a place for patients to have fun and play with toys and games. But last Thursday, volunteers and Child Life staff members turned the room into every kid’s fantasy – a toy store where absolutely everything is free.
Every holiday season, Children’s partners with the Starlight Children’s Foundation to host this holiday shopping party for patients.
It’s just one of the many ways Children’s helps kids and their families cope with being at the hospital during the holidays.
“The idea is that patients shop for gifts for their siblings and can pick something for themselves, too,” says Lina Lewis, senior program coordinator for Child Life.
Law enforcement officers from around the state, along with other groups, volunteer to help patients pick out gifts.
Many kids can’t come to the playroom to shop, but they don’t have to miss out. Some patients fill out a wish list for volunteers, who do the shopping for them and deliver gift-wrapped presents to their room.
“For kids in the cancer unit, we actually move the shopping party there,” says Lina.
Children’s was the last place the Rodriguez family, of Lake Stevens, Wash., expected to be during the holidays. They landed here after 8-year-old Breanna was diagnosed with diabetes.
Breanna took a little break from learning the ins and outs about her new diagnosis to shop for a gift for her 5-year-old brother, Jordan, as well as something special for herself.