Book collections the whole month of May.
A big move and birthday celebrations in June.
Chaos, catching up and book orders in July and August.
And FINALLY (yes, FINALLY) a big donation to Omaha Children's Hospital and Medical Center in September!
Two Thursdays ago Harrison, his grandmas and I loaded up our vehicles (it took 3 to carry all of our books!) and headed to the hospital. As I drove, Harrison strapped in his carseat in the back, I couldn't help but think back to our first donation back in 2011. It was just 3 months after Charlotte had died and it was my first trip to Children's without her. It took every bit of will power that I had not to turn around and drive back home to Sioux Falls...I was shakey...nauseous...terrified. Fast forward two years, and I was actually looking forward to walking through those doors. The employees at Children's will always and forever be an important part of our lives, and seeing them always warms my heart. They loved (and still love!) or little Charlotte so much. Having Harrison along certainly didn't hurt either! I know that he doesn't understand the significance of "donation day" yet, but I'm so excited for him to grow up with Books for Charley as a part of his life and for him to understand the importance doing for others.
We arrived at Children's at 10:00 and were met by two smiling faces that we have come to know quite well over the past 2 years. Rob and Cheri helped us get everything unloaded onto a large cart and moved into the lobby.
Once there, we had the chance to catch up a little and even ran into a few of our FAVORITE ladies from the cath lab. Talk about a bonus! I wish I would have remembered to take more pictures...go figure!
Holy cow I can't believe how much Harrison has grown since last year's drop off! And to think that next year there will be another little one in tow!When it was all said and done, our local Books for Charley event was able to donate 1,185 books to Omaha Children's Hospital. ONE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FIVE BOOKS!! I always fear that the excitement around this program will die out, but once again I was proven wrong. 2013 was our biggest year yet and things are showing no signs of stopping.
South Carolina - 84 books
University of Iowa Children's Hospital - 167 books
Texas Children's Hospital - 500 books
Children's Hospital of Orange County - 300 books
Waverly and Sumner Hospitals (Iowa) - 213 books
Duke Medical Center - 46 books
University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital - 150 books
Omaha Children's Hospital and Medical Center - 1,185 books
2013 Books for Charley - 2,645 books
That's 500 more books than we collected last year!
I know that I say this about 200 times every year, but THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to each and every one of you who helped out with this year's collection. There is no way that we could do it without you. I hope that you realize how much happiness a simple book can bring to a kiddo who is stuck in the 4 walls of a hospital room or preparing for scary procedures. And to our fellow Books for Charley heart families....you are amazing. I'm amazed at how much this little books drive has grown and that is all thanks to you (big virtual heart mama group hug!) I love you all!
Surprisingly enough, we already have a small stock pile of books being gathered for our 2014 Books for Charley collection. Remember that even though the official event takes place in May, we never turn away donations. So keep having those Books for Charley birthday parties, setting out those collection boxes, keeping eyes out for book sales and telling your friends to do the same! And if there are any heart families out there who would like to join us in coming years by holding donations for your personal hero hospitals....PLEASE let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thanks again for a wonderful year and for helping us celebrate sweet Charlotte!