Since we launched fundraising efforts for Ethan & Choco’s Book Club in December 2015, we’ve been working hard to raise money, collect books, build awareness and make connections in Orange County, and coordinate plans for starting up in the hospital. Our first official ECBC event at CHOC is a launching party planned for December 9th, where we plan to give away new books, have a few local authors read aloud, and engage patients in book-related crafting. Our hope is that shortly thereafter, at the start of 2017, we will begin implementation of phase 1 in the hospital, which is “Reading Aloud in Every Room” — where trained volunteers will visit patient rooms to read aloud and promote literacy skills, conversations, and good thinking. After getting this initial phase off the ground, we hope to move quickly to phase 2, which will involve mobile book carts visiting patient rooms and the start of a Lending Library at CHOC. We are excited to finally be approaching a start date at CHOC!
Ethan unfortunately had to be admitted at CHOC on Tuesday due to a fever and critically low blood counts (his absolute neutrophil count is 0, meaning he has no ability to fight infection). It is his first time being inpatient since before we launched ECBC, and being here reminds him just how much books and reading are needed at the hospital. As always, he sees patients on screens and on devices — but it’s nearly impossible to see anyone with a book! While visiting the hospital radio station on Thursday (his favorite place to when he’s here), Ethan turned to me and said,”Mom, can I just do something for ECBC now, since I’m at the hospital anyway?” What a great idea — why not take advantage of us being here and get some books into kids’ hands, even if informal and impromptu?! So we made a plan with the radio station manager for Ethan to host a show, cleared it with Child Life, and I rushed home to get a pile of new books from our Gifting Library. And at 4:00 on Thursday, Ethan went on air at the hospital (which goes into patient rooms)!! He introduced himself and the mission of ECBC, read aloud two of his favorite books, and showed off book titles that he was giving away. About 15 kids ended up coming down to the station to choose books, and afterwards Ethan gave away another 15 books to oncology patients on the 5th floor. Ethan says “it was so awesome” to finally get to share his love of reading at CHOC, and he can’t wait to do more! Per the invitation of the radio station manager, it looks like a regular radio show hosted by Ethan is in the works!