8-year old Naperville girl has special Christmas message for Edward Hospital. Read the story, see the photos.
From The Naperville Sun:
8-year-old remembers hospital patients, staff on holidays
By Jane Donahue for The Sun
Dec. 17, 2010
This time of year, Santa Claus receives his share of letters from children asking for popular toys and games. But when 8-year-old Leah Allman wrote a letter of her Christmas wishes, she mailed it to Edward Hospital instead.
The letter was handwritten in pencil, complete with a detailed illustration, and "open me" written on the back. Besides wishing the hospital staff a "Merry Christmas," it included kind words from the Highlands Elementary School third-grader.
"I am praying for all of the patients there this season," Leah wrote. "I hope you are taking good care of them so they can all get better soon! I don't care if they're in pulmonary, the surgical wing, or pediatrics! I just care that they're happy this holiday!"
Faith and Scott Allman, Leah's parents, said the letter followed conversations about the holidays with Leah and her sister Camille, 5.
"Especially this time of year, as a family we try to think of others, take the focus off of ourselves and off of thinking about the gifts we might get," said Faith. "We talked to the girls about those less fortunate and about those that are hurting or sad."
Leah originally approached her parents about going to Edward Hospital "to visit all the children who are sick." The following day, her mom was surprised to see her working on the letter at the kitchen table.
"I am writing a letter to Edward Hospital," Leah told her mom. "Please make sure you send it to them."
Not knowing who to send it to, Faith addressed it to the main building, and mailed it. The family was shocked to get a call from the hospital.
Apparently Leah's holiday wishes caught the attention of Edward Hospital CEO Pam Davis.
"We get so many lovely letters, and I am trying to share them now with our staff that works so hard all the time," said Davis. "I read this - and it is just touching to think that some child, at home over the holidays, would be thinking about our patients."
Davis invited the little girl to Edward Hospital on Wednesday. The CEO chatted with the third-grader about the letter and let her know she shared it with her staff.
"Holidays are always hard for the staff that has to work, and for the patients," said Davis. "I think people really do try and support each other.
"It's obviously a time when people would prefer not to be sick and in the hospital, but it's part of what we do, so we try to have some fun. It is touching to know that people appreciate what we do. I think it is something we need more of, as the world gets bigger and anonymous, to know that people know you make a difference is really lovely."
Leah couldn't visit with any children at Edward, but she and her family were given a tour of the pediatric ward by Nina Sittler, Edward's child life specialist.
Sittler said they generally have a small number of children who spend the holiday in the pediatric ward. And while they don't know how many patients will be needing care this season, they are ready.
"My goal is to make things as normal as I can make them," said Sittler. "We try to do special things to brighten the spirits of our patients."
Leah said it was "comforting" to know that patients at Edward Hospital are being cared for, just like she hoped.
Naperville, Illinois (IL) - Edward Hospital and Health Services