About a year and half ago, I asked friends, family, blog readers, and Facebook pals to donate to Lurie Children’s Hospital’s Give Kids a Hand Campaign. As a lead up to the opening of the new hospital, the campaign offered the opportunity to put our mark on the hospital–with a $1,000 team gift, we had the opportunity to have Charlotte’s name on a tile that would be part of a mosaic mural, created in partnership with Project S.N.A.P, to be installed in the south entrance to the hospital. It was one in a series of fundraisers that made participation in the hospital’s growth accessible to people of a variety of means. And, it let families get involved by creating the art for each tile.
The result is a crowning achievement, installed on the hospital’s first birthday. It adorns the south entrance of the hospital and is a tangible reminder that this building was built by the community, for the community.
My goal was to get a tile for Team Charlotte–you wonderful group of Charlotte supporters who have read, watched, and cheered through her medical travails and her ongoing journey to regular kid-dom. You ou did yourselves and we raised more than $7,500. Now, I wish that entitled us to 7 tiles, but since we only had one “team,” we get one tile. And here it is (the small image in the top left is the entire mosaic, the one with Charlotte’s name is her tile.):
Want to get a closer look? Click here. Then enter my first and last name and choose “Lurie Children’s Donors” from the drop down. Or, visit the hospital.
Next week, to wish Lurie Children’s Hospital a “happy birthday,” there will be a viewing party, complete with tours of the hospital, on Thursday.
One of my revelations upon settling back in to Chicago is that everyone here is “two degrees from Children’s.” In other words, everyone has a closer to connection to Lurie Children’s than most of us actually have to Kevin Bacon. I meet at least three people each week who have a story to tell, whether it is their own, their child’s, their mother’s (really), their neighbor’s, cousin’s, or friend’s–they range from the banker to the flight attendant to work colleagues to parents at the Lycée to random acquaintances at all kinds of places and events. The connections are as common as stitches, fractures, ear tubes, allergies, and tonsillectomies. And, they are as rare as stroke, pediatric rheumatoid arthritis, brain tumors, heart defects, and sleep disorders.
It doesn’t matter how routine or rare a child’s medical needs are–to that child’s family the medical need is important and sometimes frightening. As I often say, whether they giving your child anesthesia for a tonsillectomy or heart surgery, when someone wheels your baby away and puts them to sleep, it’s scary and it’s big.
The doctors and staff at Lurie Children’s Hospital know that. They’ve known it since Julia Foster Porter founded the Maurice Porter Memorial Hospital in 1882 to honor the memory of her 13 year old son. On the anniversary of the hospital’s 21st century evolution, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for supporting Charlotte and the doctors that continue to keep her healthy. Truth is, she’ll never be completely regular, whatever that is, but to us she’ll always be as extraordinary as Mrs. Porter’s inimitable legacy.