With 275,00 patient visits a year and 280 patient beds, St. Louis Children's Hospital sees its fair share of visitors. Recently, au pairs from the greater St. Louis, Missouri region decided to help support family visitors of patients in the Hematology and Oncology Unit by volunteering with the Wish I Had program.
The Wish I Had project was started by a local mother that saw a need for visitor hospital bags after her own daughter was diagnosed with pediatric cancer and admitted to the hospital. Wish I Had bags are filled with a few basic essential items to supply parents with a night or two of necessities that help fill the gap during unexpected hospital admittance of their child. The au pair group learned about the Wish I Had project, which works with the ninth ward of the nationally ranked St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The au pairs donated items for the bags and spent an evening sorting and filling bags so that they were ready for families to use them during their long hospital visits. You could say a that little love from all over the world went into each bag, as the au pairs packing the bags were from Brazil, Spain, Turkey, Colombia, and Germany. A beautiful example of cultural exchange! The au pairs loved being able to get involved in a project centered around families in the city they are calling home.
German au pair Maren says about the night:
For me, it was a great experience and I was happy to be involved in something that is important and can help other families. I think the health of children is really important for each au pair, so it was a heartening affair to be part of the "Wish I Had" night. Especially the story of how the whole thing started really touched me. I think it was one of the best au pair meetings we have ever had because all the girls stuck together to get as many bags done as possible.
Au pair Ana from Brazil also shared her thoughts on the night of volunteering:
At Friday's meeting I had a nice evening, exchanging experiences with several girls from all over the world. The most fantastic thing was that we were together for one common reason and that was to help other people. I believe that this is the main role of the human being, helping others and having a truly happy life.
We're thrilled to say that the bags were packed with love and care, and we hope that family visitors felt a bit more comfortable during their stay thanks to their Wish I Had bags!