ECBC had a terrific afternoon yesterday at CHOC, with two of our programs going on at the same time and with such a good response. On the 5th floor (oncology/neurology), our bedside readers visited patient rooms with the Read-Aloud Wagon and read aloud with almost every available patient on the floor. We received so many more “YES”s to reading than we anticipated! And on the hospital lobby, ECBC gave away many books off our Gifting Library Cart to patients and siblings who came down for MaxLove’s Be Super Party (see photo — unfortunately we can’t share pics of patients). It has been a wonderful first four weeks since launching our program — so rewarding to see plans in action, to see books becoming part of patients hospital experience!
Just a quick update on week two of ECBC’s new inpatient bedside reading and mobile book cart program: Last week, we had a launching party in the playroom, where ECBC volunteers read aloud an interactive book about color mixing and guided patients to do some of their own color mixing in blank books and on blank puzzles. This week, we started our visits to patient rooms — where we asked patients if they were up for a read-aloud and possibly a related craft. Patients get visited by so many different people during the day, so often it can be difficult for an unknown volunteer to get a “yes” when asking to enter a patient’s room. We were SO thrilled that all but one patient/families said YES to a read-aloud! We read aloud with patients between the ages of 2 and 9, and volunteers’ reading resulted in patients putting down their ipads, getting engaged in a good story, making predictions and personal connections, and wanting more on a different day! One father of an oncology patient even said as an ECBC volunteer left the room: “Thank you so much, that was just what the doctor prescribed today”… which is actually a goal of ours, that someday “reading aloud” will be included in doctor recommendations as part of helping patients thrive during their hospital stays. #ECBC#Bedside Reading #ReadAloudEveryDay#HospitalizedKidsNeedBooksToo #ReadThinkThrive
As of yesterday, ECBC has officially started our inpatient bedside reading and mobile book cart program at CHOC Children’s Hospital! It has been a long road to get here, but we are THRILLED to be able to finally bring books and reading to patients ON THE FLOORS (ie Oncology floor), not just in the lobby — reading aloud, using high-quality literature and trained “expert” readers, giving away books to patients in isolation via our new Gifting Library Cart, engaging patients in book-inpsired crafting, and getting patients excited to take a break from screentime! THANK YOU to Susie Alexander and Sandy Tweedt for helping to make our launch event so successful; I’m SO grateful to have such AMAZING volunteers!
Our inaugural charity run is just 3 days away — it’s not too late to sign up! As we start our new program at CHOC, we have many new and ongoing program expenses, so we can use all the support we can get! Please join us and help us bring books and reading, and eventually a lending library, to CHOC Children’s Hospital! Click HERE to register.
ECBC supporters, please check out my post on Ethan’s Leukemia journey blog at https://ethansleukemiastory.wordpress.com/
We just dropped off another 100 new books at the Outpatient Infusion Center (OPI) yesterday, when we were there for Ethan’s LAST spinal tap and chemo through port. 3 1/2 years of chemo at CHOC, and we’re now left with only a week of steroids, 24 days of oral chemo, and port removal surgery. It as been quite a few years, with so many hard times, but an equal number of joyful moments. Starting Ethan & Choco’s Book Club has been among the best to come out of this long hard journey. We’re so grateful to be able to give back to this wonderful hospital and to all the cancer warriors out there, and to be able to do so in a way that’s so meaningful and personal for both Ethan and me.
With the new year upon us, we are excited to share a few of Ethan & Choco’s Book Club’s highlights of 2017 as well as our next steps for 2018. We spent the past year with continued efforts to bookraise, fundraise, form partnerships, and raise awareness about ECBC’s mission to bring books and reading to hospitalized kids. ECBC now boasts a library of approximately 8000 new books — 6,000 in our Gifting Library and 2,000 in our Lending Library! Ethan continued with online book request videos by sharing each month a list of titles that we need, and books continued to come in the mail. We thank our community for the abundant support we received this past year from individuals, kids and youth groups, teachers and schools, a few small businesses, and at some community events. We are especially grateful for the support of our most significant and ongoing donors and partners, including: MaxLove Project, Kids READ!, Once Upon a Storybook, Tarbut ‘V Torah Community Day School, Blue Moon Boutique, Irvine Kiwanis Club, Arroyo Elementary School, Saddleback Educational Publishing, National League of Young Men Tustin, Girl Scout Troops 3152, 3115, 4204, and 3307, Mrs. Kelly’s 4th and 5th grade classes at Arroyo Elementary, Quintus Financial & Insurance, Enderle Center, DOGO Books, Aidan and Amie’s birthday book drive, Tod and Sharon Paris, Barry Ackerman, Mary and Vaso Adzich, Bill Bellaty, Rob and Brooke Lieberman, Alane Adams, Alexandra Aldawan, Ashley Netzky, the Sherrill Family, and Nancy Sewell. And, we are so very humbled by the CarterStrong Book Drive donation of more than 650 new books — 100 of which are being used to create the CarterStrong Legacy Collection, which will hold a permanent place in our lending library and represent Carter’s legacy of joy, kindness, and relentless bravery.
Without doubt, the greatest highlight of the past year is that we collected enough new books to start getting books into the hands of CHOC Children’s Hospital patients on a regular basis! This occurred primarily through our monthly Super Book Give-Aways at CHOC as part of MaxLove Project’s Be Super Parties. We also started to fill the empty shelves with new books at CHOC’s Outpatient Infusion Center, and we held a super successful first annual Books for Treats at CHOC on Halloween, giving away approximately 300 new Halloween-themed books to kids stuck in the hospital over the holiday. And, with the help of committed Girl Scout Troop #3152, we delivered ten individually curated book boxes (called Read +Think + Thrive Boxes) to SuperKids (at CHOC and around the country) with new cancer diagnoses or who had recently relapsed. Ethan was especially proud of these deliveries and is inspiring ECBC to expand this program in 2018.
Goals and Plans for 2018. With a successful year behind us, we are so excited for 2018! We’re going into this year with these six key goals:
- First and foremost, we plan to launch the initial phases of our inpatient programs, starting with our bedside reading program in the first part of 2018 (“Reading Aloud in Every Room”) and our mobile book carts (including Lending and Gifting carts) in the latter half of 2018 (“Books in Every Room”). We are especially excited about the mobile book carts because they offer an innovative way to provide a lending library to hospitalized kids without requiring a huge amount of space (which we don’t have yet).
- We will continue with our book give-away parties at CHOC, where we give away new books from our Gifting Library to patients and siblings who are able to leave their hospital floor and go down to the lobby. This includes the monthly parties with MaxLove Project as well as Books for Treats on Halloween.
- We are super thrilled to be working with MaxLove Project to create an ECBC library at MaxLove Project’s new outpatient survivorship center!! We plan to create a beautiful, cozy reading corner with open-faced shelving, comfy seating, and books for all ages so that books and reading aloud are part of this beautiful healing space that helps SuperKids thrive through cancer treatment and beyond.
- We plan to create additional book nooks in various locations at the hospital that provide new books and reading for patients who otherwise are likely waiting with nothing to do or looking at screens. We will continue to provide books for the Outpatient Infusion Center, and we will work on creating new book nooks at the oncology clinic, the hospital admission waiting area, and in Radiology.
- We are excited to scale up Ethan’s Read+Think+Thrive Box program from the informal giving of boxes to more systematic distribution. With the new year, we have promised CHOC to work on a goal of providing a new book box to every new cancer diagnosis, which is about 5-10 boxes per month. Ethan decided to focus his monthly book request videos on asking for the specific books that are needed to fill each of twelve categories of book box recipients. Check out Ethan’s January book request video here, where he shares the titles needed for book boxes for preschool boys.
- This year, we are holding our first ECBC community fundraising event, called BOOK IT! Racing for Reading for Hospitalized Kids. This is a 5K race/1K Fun Run at Orange Coast College on Monday, May 28th (Memorial Day). Participants will receive a BOOK IT! T-shirt, medal, and electronic timing, and Kiwanis Club of Irvine will provide an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast for $4 or a new book donation. We’re hoping for a fantastic turnout! In addition to the race, we will work on renewing momentum for fundraising, continue to bookraise, and hopefully form many more partnerships with individuals, youth groups, schools, and corporations. Especially as we give away increasing numbers of books and launch our inpatient programs, we will need significant ongoing support for sustainability.
Please help us have a good start to 2018 by donating to ECBC in one of these ways:
- Register for our race, BOOK IT! Or, if you can’t make the race, on the race registration site you can donate $20 for a new book or $100 to sponsor a Read+Think+Thrive Box for a child with a new cancer diagnosis. Click here to register.
- Make a one-time donation or a recurring donation on our fundraising page. Click here to donate.
- Purchase books from our Amazon Wish List to donate to our Lending and Gifting libraries, or contribute to our Read+Think+Thrive Boxes for new cancer diagnoses at CHOC — click here to access and donate from the list of books we need for preschool boys.
We can’t wait to continue to work on making books and reading a core part of the care that CHOC patients receive! THANK YOU for being part of our efforts!