Today, Ethan & Choco’s Book Club was featured in Voyage LA’s “Inspiring Stories” section! Check it out here: http://voyagela.com/interview/meet-ali-posner-ethan-posner-ethan-chocos-book-club-nonprofit-charity-orange-county/
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!
Ethan is overdue on posting his October Title Talk and September thank yous. We had planned to post tonight, but he decided it doesn’t feel right given that his fellow Leukemia warrior buddy Carter lost his battle today. We are so heartbroken. #CarterStrongForever
Click here to view Ethan’s message.
ECBC had a terrific afternoon yesterday at our FIRST Super Book Give-Away alongside MaxLove Project at CHOC Children’s Hospital! We gave away approximately 70 books to hospitalized kids and their siblings, with our youngest recipient being 22 months and our oldest being a 14-year old boy who said he was allergic to reading but then found a book about Alcatraz that he walked away with eagerly. A CHOC nurse walked by and commented, “It is so great to see books in our lobby, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that!” And a parent of an oncology patient snuck away with a pile of books and whispered to me, “I have to home school my child now, but I always forget to bring books to the hospital. It is just never on my radar.” Both of these remarks confirm why we’re so passionate about ECBC’s mission to bring books and reading to hospitalized kids! It was so fun to put books in kids’ hands, see them reading in the lobby, and watch them walk away excitedly with a new book about a topic of interest!
Because we’re still waiting to get through CHOC’s lengthy volunteer on-boarding process in order to start “Reading Aloud in Every Room” (our bedside reading program), we are working on other ways to get books into the hands of patients NOW! We plan to join MaxLove Project regularly for their monthly BeSuper parties at CHOC, and we are working on setting up other ways to bring reading to CHOC as well (ways that don’t require volunteer approval). To be able to gift books to kids at these events, we need the new books to keep coming in — so PLEASE keep donating if you can. Here’s the link to our Wish List on Amazon — books purchased from this list will be sent directly to ECBC.
Today is World Read Aloud Day (WRAD), which aims to bring global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories. I’m re-posting Ethan’s WRAD post from last year (click here to view), where he describes the importance of this day and reads aloud a favorite picture book. He also expresses his hope that on this day in 2017 (today!), all patients at CHOC Children’s are being read to. We’re not quite there yet, but we are getting closer to launching Phase 1 in the hospital, which is “Reading Aloud in Every Room”. Please consider donating a book from ECBC’s Amazon Wish List (click here) to help the kids at CHOC experience the joy and power of reading aloud!