Fabulous Find Friday: Luke’s Fastbreaks

Today’s Fabulous Find is Luke’s FastBreaks, an organization that works to help pediatric oncology patients feel like children instead of patients when they are in the hospital. Luke’s FastBreaks does this by replacing boring hospital gowns with fun medical shirts. These shirts are designed to make it easy for children to wear while they also have their port accessed and other lines that they might have while hospitalized. The shirt has special snap tape on the sides that makes it easy to open and close as needed to take care of the patient’s lines while also helping the child feel as normal as possible during their hospitalization.

Luke fought cancer and won and now he’s giving back with the shirts that were created to help him cope with his hospitalization.  As Child Life Specialists, we know how hard it is for patients (especially teens) to wear the hospital gowns during their long stays. These patients want to be comfortable during their stay and Luke’s special medical shirts helps patients do just that.

Check out LukesFastBreaks.org  to learn more about what the organization does and how to help get shirts for your patients.


Fabulous Find Friday: Pabs Packs

Today’s Fabulous Find Friday is PABS PACKS. PABS PACKS was created to provide comfort to hospitalized teens. When the founders, Pia and Abbie, were each diagnosed with illnesses that left them hospitalized, they realized that there was a lack of comfort items for teens that are in the hospital. These strong survivors chose to change that and started making comfort packages to send to hospitalized teens. These backpacks have items specially chosen to comfort and distract teens during their hospital stay.

To learn more, check out www.pabspacks.org.

Fabulous Find Friday: Little Wishes

There are a variety of wish programs for chronic or terminal pediatric patients, including Make-A-Wish and Children’s Wish Foundation, that offer large wishes to patients. But there are other organizations, like today’s Fabulous Find Friday, that focus on smaller wishes that make a difference for patients. Little Wishes makes smaller wishes come true, like a princess dress or a musical instrument. The benefit of smaller wishes is that Little Wishes can fulfill patient’s wishes more often. Every 14 days, a child can make another small wish to make their hospitalization a little more bearable.

Check out littlewishes.org/about to learn more.

Fabulous Find Friday: Woombie Med Pods

Today’s Fabulous Find Friday is Woombie Med Pods! Woombie Med Pods are swaddles that are specifically designed for hospitalize infants. Unlike regular swaddles that often can’t be used on hospitalized infants because of the medical devices that are needed, these swaddles are designed to swaddle the child while also allowing their necessary medical devices to be used. The Med Pod has slits to allow for lines, drains and vitals checks. They also have pods that are designed for infants with trachs, g-buttons, colostomy bags, and even a mesh swaddle for babies that need to be exposed to light.


Check out Woombie Med Pod’s webinar to learn more about the role their swaddles play in the comfort and development of hospitalized infants; Woombie Med Pods: Product Training


Fabulous Find Friday: Chewelry

Today’s Fabulous Find is Chewelry! Chewelry is exactly what it sounds like, jewelry that you can chew. Many kiddos in the hospital have sensory issues, especially if they have been chronically hospitalized. There are also many developmental delays associated with chronic hospitalization but it’s often hard to find a developmentally appropriate toy when the child is typical physically. Chewelry is designed for kids and adults which means it’s helpful regardless of the person’s age. It’s also designed to be stylish so it’s not as obvious that it’s meant to be chewed. But nonetheless, it can be a soothing chew when needed.

ARK's Pizza Textured Chew Necklace ARK's Basketball Chew Necklace ARK's Chewmoji™ Necklace

Fabulous Find Friday: Owl Babies Book

Owl Babies is a great book for helping young children understand separation, especially as a reminder that mommys and daddys come back. Owl Babies by Martin Waddell tells the story of three owl babies in the nest who awaken to find that their mommy is gone. They worry and wonder where she has gone with the youngest one really wanting mommy. When she returns at the end, she is greeted with excitement and joy. It is a great story to help children express their feelings about separation which is common during a child’s hospital stay.

owl babies

Fabulous Find: Gabe’s Chemo Duck

Cancer treatment can be scary for kids. As Child Life Specialists, we know the importance of preparation. Chemo Duck is a great tool to help prepare kids for a port, central line, or really any procedures they may encounter during their treatment. Chemo Duck comes with a port or a central line and he can be a child’s companion throughout treatment or just during medical play sessions.


Visit their website to learn more;  http://chemoduck.org/for-kids/meet-chemo-duck/




Fabulous Find Friday: Comfort Kits

Guidepost Comfort Kits are created to brighten the lives of children who are hospitalized or undergoing medical treatments. The comfort kits include items that will help make the child’s stay a little easier. They have a stuffed toy, stress ball, stickers and a journal to remember each child’s unique situation. To learn more, check out this child life specialist’s post about the impact these kits can have for a hospitalized family: Bringing Comfort to Sick Kids



“Just” Playing!

Last summer I visited Lurie Children’s Hospital and had the opportunity to meet with members of their Child Life Staff. One of the people I met was the Director of Children’s Services. When she asked about my volunteering experience, I mentioned that I was completing my practicum and learning a lot about Child Life and working with kids in the hospital setting. I also shared that I was volunteering in a clinic’s waiting room. My responsibilities there included “just playing with the kids.” She immediately called me out on using the word just and encouraged me to not say “just” playing or “just” doing anything else. Because every experience is important.

In the past year, I have reflected on this advice many times. She was so firm against using the word “just.” And she was right, “just” minimizes things. It trivializes experiences. “Just” diminishes the importance of our work. You’re not “just” listening to someone, you are listening to that person. Being in the moment is so crucial, you listening to them could make a world of difference to that person who needs you. You don’t “just” volunteer, you volunteer. And that volunteering is something you should be proud of, it’s important.

I had an experience while volunteering at a Child Advocacy Center that reaffirmed for me the importance of play. One day while I was volunteering, a little boy came into the waiting room with one of his parents. The waiting room of the advocacy center was empty that day and so I spent my time playing with this little boy. We played Jenga, Sorry and other games while he and his parent waited to meet with members of the interdisciplinary staff. I didn’t think that our interaction was unusual. I played with kids in the waiting room all the time and this patient was no different. The way I saw it, I wasn’t providing any sort of specialized support. I was not prepping him for procedures or helping him cope with stress. I played with him to occupy his and my time while we were both in the waiting room.

When his parent was ready to go, the little boy asked that he stay longer so he could keep playing. His parent allowed him to stay a little longer before they needed to leave. As the little boy left, he told me that I was his best friend. We must have very different ideas of what a best friend is because I think of a best friend as someone who has been there for you for years and makes you laugh and have fun. But to that little boy, my playing with him meant I was his friend. I communicated with him through play. By “just” playing, I told him he was safe and loved. By allowing him to “just” choose the games he wanted to play with, I was able to give him back a sense of control. I was not “just” playing, I was playing.

“If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings and grow.”

– Alfie Kohn

Fabulous Find Friday: Basket of Hope

Medicine is about more that drugs and machines. For people to heal, their souls need to be touched as well as their bodies. By caring for patients emotionally and mentally, we begin to care for the whole person instead of treating a diagnosis.

Basket of Hope does exactly this, they share games, toys, crafts and other items of comfort to patients who are diagnosed with cancer or other serious illnesses. Learn more about what goes into their baskets here