Members of the Heard County High School senior class recently surprised pediatric patients at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton with stuffed animals and books to make their hospital stay a little brighter.
Class secretary Heather Nichol led the senior class to collect donations from fellow students, parents and the community. They raised $750 to purchase the toys and books, which were donated to Tanner Medical Foundation to be distributed to children hospitalized in the hospital’s pediatrics unit, emergency department and short stay surgery unit.
Nichol and fellow Heard County High School students Alexandria Henry, Lisa Kornhauser and Cynthia Kornhauser dropped off more than 100 stuffed animals.
“Our patients will be thrilled to receive these wonderful toys,” said Cindy Strong, RN, nurse manager of the pediatrics unit at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton. “For some kids, a hospital stay can be a stressful or scary experience. This will bring comfort to so many children.”
Nichol delivered the first toy to 3-year-old pediatric patient, Jaden Pollard of Ranburne, Ala. With her parents encouraging her, the young patient cautiously accepted a pink teddy bear from Nichol, inspected it, and then hugged it tightly.
The Tanner staff was impressed that this gesture came from high school students.“It means so much that this random act of kindness came from teenagers who want to help patients not much younger than themselves,” said Strong.
When asked what inspired her with the idea of raising funds for toys for pediatric patients, Nichol said, “I just wanted to do something for the kids. If I were a kid in the hospital, I would want something fun to help distract me. This is a gift from the entire senior class.”
“This was Heather wanting to do something for others. She got the other students involved, and this was driven by students wanting to help other young folks,” said Rusty Sowell, principal of Heard County High School.
“That’s what makes this so special. For a 17-year-old to take that initiative and wanting to help others, that is a testament to the kind of young lady she is, her family and this community,” Sowell said. “If everybody were like that, the world wouldn’t have any problems.”