Compassionate Gifts Give More Than You Know

On Friday, July 10, Leah Terrill, a Child Specialist at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, happily accepted from me, stuffed animals as gifts for the patients at Spaulding. While it may not be evident in the photograph, we were both smiling!

I recently launched an e-commerce site on my webpage, juliehahnke.com, where I could sell my books and a collection of plush toys to people. But that wasn’t enough. My site wasn’t complete until I offered an option for you to buy a compassionate gift for a person in need.

“Wait a second!” many of you are saying. “There are more practical gifts you can give to folks in the hospital!”

I’ll speak to that by telling a story… Three years ago I suffered a stroke. I wasn’t found for three-and-a-half days. (For more on this, see What Is a Stroke?) When the doctors at Mass General  MRI’ed me, most of the left side of my brain was dead. The doctors explained to my parents that I was likely to show cognitive loss, because of all of the damage. I heard all of this, but I couldn’t respond, because I also had aphasia (an inability to speak and find the words to express myself—another common stroke symptom.) I knew I had no cognitive loss, but I couldn’t find the words to say it!

In the middle of this predicament, I was being wheeled back to my room. By the elevators I saw this guy—his arms were stuffed with teddy bears! I squeaked and moaned, and he figured out I wanted one! He let me choose and gave me the two-foot teddy bear that sits on my dresser today. If you ask me why that bear was important at that time, I couldn’t tell you. I had visitors aplenty, and they came with very thoughtful gifts. But that bear was special. He and I knew!

So now, I’m gonna be the guy with the bears. Your $10 will give a stuffed animal (at cost) to a Spaulding patient. Why is it only $10, you may wonder? Because we want you to give A LOT!

Give a gift; touch a life!

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