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Community and Hospital Support Provide Stuffed Animals for Pediatric Surgery Patients

To help comfort pediatric surgery patients, Laurie Garman, PCT, dresses stuffed animals, often teddy bears, in surgical scrubs and places them on the child’s surgery cart to have upon waking up. Laurie came up with the idea after witnessing a co-worker wrapping a child’s teddy bear limb to match the child’s broken arm. If she saw a child had brought an animal, she would dress them in a hat and booties and leave it on their surgery cart. It quickly turned into buying, out of her own pocket, whatever stuffed animal was available at the WCH Gift Shop when she saw a pediatric patient on the schedule. Laurie lost her son a few years ago and felt it was a kind way to honor his memory. “I believe Cody would have wanted to give the kids something to hold, hug and love to help them feel better. He was a very selfless, giving son,” said Laurie.

 After learning about the project, Laurie Newlove and the Gift Shop team wanted to help support the project and now provides the stuffed animals at a discounted rate, which is funded through the Surgery Department. Michele Wieczorek, surgery supervisor, shared how Laurie Garman’s act of kindness impacts the children who receive a stuffed animal following their procedure sharing, ”Laurie is the most giving person I have ever met and takes the opportunity to give each patient the best experience while in our care, ensuring they always get a wow experience.”

 In December 2019, several local community organizations heard about the project and wanted to help support the cause in the spirit of giving. The organizations partnered together and collected over 100 new stuffed animals that were donated to the Surgery Department.