ANN ARBOR, MI – Once a year, an activity room connected nan eighth level of Ann Arbor’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital transforms into a vacation artifact store, complete pinch impermanent aisles overflowing pinch free vacation gifts for patients and their families.
The C.S. Mott Toy Store opened Tuesday, Dec. 19, and is intended arsenic a astonishment to parents who whitethorn not person had clip to shop for children receiving curen astatine nan infirmary aliases their siblings. Parents are called down by assignment to browse and take from thousands of gifts for children of each ages - from infants to teens.
This year’s artifact thrust was hugely successful acknowledgment to aggregate organization partners, from nan Ann Arbor Police Department and University of Michigan shot players, to students astatine section simple schools moving artifact drives for their classmates receiving curen astatine Mott, said Luanne Thomas Ewald, COO of Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.
“This is simply a hectic clip of twelvemonth for everyone anyway, and erstwhile you person a sick kid it conscionable adds different furniture of stress,” Ewald said. “We cognize that there’s not other clip to spell shopping for, maybe, nan different children successful nan family. What coming does is thief return that disconnected nan parents’ checklist, truthful erstwhile nan holidays travel they’re fresh to beryllium Santa Claus for their ain family.”
Each twelvemonth since 2012, nan hospital’s Michigan football-themed Game Day Experience room has been converted into a full-service artifact shop pinch aisles sorted by property group and dozens of volunteers to thief parents prime out, wrap and haul toys backmost to their children’s rooms.
Parents tin take from a wide scope of gifts, from stuffed animals, puzzles and action figures, to teen-oriented electronics and sporting goods.
The astir celebrated artifact for this year’s donations?
Barbie. Mott received truthful galore Barbie dolls that nan Toy Store decided to extremity counting them toward each family’s allotment of 5 gifts per kid and began handing an other doll retired pinch each container of gifts.
The unit of Michigan Medicine labor who unpaid to thief tally nan artifact shop are eager to bring vacation cheer to patients and their families, either arsenic toy-wrapping “elves” aliases present-hauling “reindeer,” Ewald said.
“This is really nan item of nan twelvemonth for our full unit here,” she said. Everyone says ‘sign maine up!’”
Kayla Briseno shopped for her 4 children Wednesday, including her 7-year-old boy Ashton, a diligent astatine Mott. Briseno said being capable to put together bags afloat of gifts for Ashton and his siblings helped guarantee that, erstwhile they caput location later this week, nan family will acquisition nan Christmas they’ve been looking guardant to.
“A genitor tin only make their kid truthful happy while they’re here,” she said. “I consciousness for illustration having that thief from nan outside, knowing wherever we are, and nan group present who effort to distract you from it successful nan champion measurement possible, it’s been heartwarming. The group present - I person nary words - they’re conscionable beyond amazing.”
As Michigan Medicine volunteers helped Briseno unload nan cart afloat of colorful gift bags, she handed Ashton a brace of early Christmas presents to unwrap. Ashton, a young shot instrumentality clad successful a Miami FC jersey, squealed pinch excitement arsenic he tore disconnected nan wrapping connected a exemplary sports car.
“A Lamborghini!” He exclaimed, beaming astatine nan artifact alongside a group of finger-sized skateboards and a shark-like stuffed animal that he balanced connected his head.
Down nan hall, Sascha Zurek presented her 5-year-old girl Evalynn pinch a brace of Barbie toys, 1 dressed arsenic a doctor.
“They effort to make it consciousness arsenic overmuch for illustration location arsenic possible,” Zurek said. “It’s been perfectly amazing.”