What are people saying about Charlotte's Wings...?
Kristin Hoffman-Peavler, Parent
Just after my son turned three, he was hospitalized for three days with orbital cellulitis. During his stay, he received a book donated from Charlotte’s Wings. Every time we read the book, he says, “This is the present I got at the hospital when my eye was sick! I love this book.” Sam is now five, and clearly remembers his time in the hospital. His Charlotte’s Wings book is a bright spot in his memory of a what was a rather scary time. Thank you for the gifts you give to sick children in Michigan. You certainly made an impression on our little one, and on us.
We were at St. Joseph’s hospital in Ann Arbor. Sam got the book “Honey Honey Lion” by Jan Brett.
Sheila Schindler, LMSW
Pediatric Hospice Social Worker
Hospice of Michigan
James B. Fahner, M.D. Pediatric Hospice Care Program
Dear Charlotte’s Wings,
My name is Sheila Schindler, and I am a pediatric hospice social worker with Hospice of Michigan’s James B. Fahner, M.D. Pediatric Hospice Care Program. Thank you for your incredibly generous book donations! It is impossible to fully express the impact your books have had on our patients and their families, but I would like let you know of one example.
Possibly one of the most profoundly difficult to reach patients I have ever had was a teenage boy with a condition that caused him to struggle with a lifetime of medical fragility, as well as being quadriplegic and vent dependent. One of the books delivered by your program was a journaling notebook, with a message for teenagers and open ended questions for them to answer. This young man had me transcribe his words into the book, which was also a wonderful opportunity for me to hear his inner thoughts and feelings, and help him work through some of his end of life fears and wishes.
After his death, as per his wishes, I delivered the book to his adoptive mother. She silently read through his words, until she suddenly stopped, and cried for a long time. She explained that her tears were of relief, because of one sentence he had written. After the prompt, “I am most grateful in this life for…” the young man had said, “being adopted by my loving family.” His mother said she had been carrying the guilt that she hadn’t been able to find his biological family before he died, and she worried that he had been so focused on them that he hadn’t realized how much his adoptive family had loved him. His final words would forever help her find peace knowing how he actually felt.
Thank you again for all you do.
Santa with the Shermans
Sheila Schindler, Pediatric Social Worker, Hospice of Michigan
I am sending you a picture for which I have a release already in place. This family has three children with the same disorder. When I visit this family, I don’t want to leave. The kids are incredibly affectionate, and love to meet people and have fun. The nature of their illness is that they are blind, and become progressively more cognitively impaired as time goes on. All three still believe in Santa. We have a volunteer who is Santa year round for the kids on our program. When he visits, he delivers the Christmas books from Charlotte’s Wings. This picture is of Santa giving the kids their books. It is impossible to communicate the joy and love of this moment in a picture, but here is my best effort. Shortly before this picture was taken, Santa and the kids shared a group hug that lasted 5 minutes.
Our thanks to Charlotte’s Wings on behalf of the many children deeply affected by your book donations. Long after Santa leaves, the books will remind them of a caring and love of mythical proportions. The stories will be absorbed into their hearts. The experience bonds everyone involved in deeply meaningful ways.
Best of luck to all of you doing this important work.
Sandra Jaeger, RN, BSN, Pediatrics, PICU, St John Hospital
I just wanted to thank you again for the order of books for our diabetic patients. The books arrived Friday-very quick turnaround and we greatly appreciate your promptness with this since we were down to our last two available books for teaching carbohydrate counting to the kids. We like to send our patients home with the supplies they need to begin life with this life-changing diagnosis of diabetes. The books help the patients and parents find the carbohydrate content of everything they eat so they can give themselves the correct dose of insulin with every meal.
Katarina Juncai, LLMSW, St. John Walk With Me
During Christmas 2009 Charlottes Wings donated “No matter what by Debi Gliori” to provide to the children and families in our program. This was such a simple book that sends out such a beautiful message, a message of unconditional love. Coming from someone who has read this story to many of our hospice children and their siblings I have seen the impact it has and the actions of love that follow. It really allows children to understand that “no matter what you are special”.
I just wanted to let you know how much these books mean to our hospice children. We have the honor of seeing the faces of our children light up to these beautiful stories. Working for this program I have seen the impact these books leave for our children and I have to say not only is it a gift to us for your generous donations but it touches so many lives of so many children and families in our program.
Stephanie Sliwinski, Rochester Mother
My son Jonathan, who was 2 at the time, fell out of a play structure at the park and fractured his skull. We spent two days at Royal Oak Beaumont. The Neuro Surgeon advised us to keep him somewhat sedatary and calm while they observed him, which is very difficult for a two year old. I went to the Children’s Garden in the Pediatric Unit to gather some books to read to Jonathan. I thought that reading to him would be a great way to keep him calm. I read him several books while he sat on my lap in the rocking chair. This is exactly what we needed at the time. Jonathan enjoyed being read to, and I loved having him in my arms during this scary time, waiting for an update from the doctor. The last book that I read to him was a book donated in memory of Charlotte Tarling. This is when I knew that I wanted to be a part of Charlotte’s Wings, in order to provide as many books as possible to area hospitals and hospice centers. I realized just how much a simple book can help someone who is sick or hospitalized. Thankfully, Jonathan’s skull is fully healed, and he is happy and healthy. Charlotte’s Wings helped provide a sense of comfort to us during this very stressfull time.
Joann Young – BS, CTRS, Pediatric Recreational Therapist, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak
Books provide many hours of entertainment and literacy enrichment for our special children. Children often spend many days in the hospital. Some hours are spent watching television and playing video games. However, books allow parents an opportunity to bond with and educate their children during hospitalization.
Books are used and worn out daily by our kids. It would be wonderful to be able to continue to provide new books for our Childrens’ Library and the Pediatric Emergency Center.
Sandra DiMaso – Teacher/Child Life Specialist, St John Hospital, Detroit
I can not tell you how much we appreciate all the books you’ve brought to St. John Hospital. My playroom now has a wonderful selection of books for all ages. Every day new kids come in and look over our book cart and are so excited when I tell them that they can pick one to take home. Our out-patient pediatric clinic is also thrilled with their new book selection. When the children come into the clinic, they ask for “the book lady” Darlene to see what new books she has. It is very exciting to see children who normally don’t read much, asking for books.
Thanks again for your kindness and generosity. And thanks for helping our Detroit/St John children to get interested in reading.
Kelly Sitkiewicz – Walk with Me, St John Pediatric Hospice Program
We are so grateful that Walk With Me received such a generous donation. Our program was truly in need of these books and now many families will receive comfort and peace from the messages that they bring.