Pandemic can’t dim hopes of volunteers at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In a time where so much has changed, volunteers at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital say this Thanksgiving is one of immense gratitude for the hospitals work in this community.

COVID-19 halted in person work for programs like baby huggers, but the hospital found a new and virtual way to keep those connections strong.

“In a very dark time, I am able to not only see these kids that fight really hard and the people that fight for them but I am able to see heroes in different ways,” volunteer Mandy Hoffman said.

They see that difference in each virtual session, like helping a patient through a rough day, or achieving a major milestone.

“I was singing her songs and the life specialist and nurse were like, ‘Oh my gosh, she was kicking her feet,’” volunteer Susan Adams said. “They were like, ‘That’s the first time we’ve seen her do that.’”

It means the world to the 240 volunteers at the hospital.

“To be able to be there virtually with them and let them forget for an hour that, ‘Hey I’m in the hospital,’ they can kind of forget that,” volunteer Jennifer Frye said.

But the kids aren’t the only ones benefiting from these sessions. The time is also helping volunteers see what’s happening in the world in a different light, with a thankful heart.

“When we can figure out how to give back and not solely focus on ourselves, that’s where the meaning of life comes in,” Frye said.

It’s a lesson we could all use during this pandemic, and after it.

“We have a need to be so grateful for the fact that we are a community that has to pull together to get to the other side of this,” Hoffman said.

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