All Better Now and Bearing a Bounty: 11-Year-Old Returns to Health First’s Holmes Regional Pediatric ED With Treasure Trove
By Space Coast Daily // October 9, 2023
A racing heart brought her in. Her big heart brought her back.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Earlier this year, Sarah Grove and her daughter Addy arrived at the area’s only Pediatric Emergency Department (ED) at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center, where they were met by a treasure chest of toys.
“No, an actual treasure chest – they walked it in and opened it up,” Sarah Grove said.
This month, Addy, 11, returned to the under-the-sea-themed unit with her mom, dad and sister, each carrying chest-sized bags of toys, games and other prizes to leave with the hospital for the next kid in need of a happy diversion.
“I was tired when I was here and it helped to have some fun things around,” Addy said.
In all, the four bags represented about $400 in hand-picked purchases. They featured stuffed animals, baby pacifiers, Hot Wheels and building sets, travel games, and nail polish and hair accessories for older girls.
“We wanted to pick up stuff for everyone, and I walked around the store thinking about what boys and girls would like – it was hard,” Addy said.
Harder still was the hustle to raise the money. Addy’s family didn’t give it to her. She earned it on cookie and lemonade sales. And doing so, she learned an important rule of fundraising – cause counts.
“People gave you sometimes $50 for the cookies, so I think you got a good response,” Sarah Grove said. “A lot of people drove by and said this is such a nice thing you’re doing.”
‘You’re Special When You’re Here’
Addy, 11, arrived at the Pediatric ED experiencing some muscle spasms and a racing heart rate following a bout of illness. It was late when they arrived at the hospital, and they stayed most of the night.
“It was nice, at 11 o’clock at night, to have a welcoming environment like this, with a treasure chest with toys to help us stay awake,” Sarah Grove said.
“We show children that, ‘Hey, you’re special when you’re here,’” said Kirsten Black, a full-time Child Life Specialist. “We will take the time to manage not only your condition, but your fear and anxiety, and make this a place that’s comfortable and fun.”
Black said Addy’s particular efforts are singular – she could not remember another fundraiser or act of giving back like this – and it “speaks volumes to the type of child that she is and the family that’s raising her that she cares about others so actively.”
“It doesn’t happen very often because kids are being kids – as they should be.”
Health First’s Pediatric Emergency Department at Holmes Regional and its unique Child Life Specialist staff position are made possible by contributions to the Health First Foundation. To join Addy and the Grove family in their support, make a gift at HF.org/give
Visit HF.org/news to keep up with the latest at Health First.