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How to be a teddy bear for Children’s Hospital

Johnson City Press • Feb 9, 2019 at 7:30 AM

Opportunities for making a difference in our community are plentiful. Just read Senior Reporter Sue Guinn Legg’s weekly Good Neighbor column if you have any doubt about how you can lend a hand.

While so many causes are worthy, few stand out more than the Child Life Services Department at Niswonger Children’s hospital.

The program provides specialists whose sole goal is to ease the experience of hospitalization for Niswonger’s young patients. Imagine facing serious health concerns at a young age in a strange setting.

Take for example the experience of 7-year-old Ellee, who was diagnosed with pediatric leukemia at age 5.

“The unknown is very scary; it’s terrifying for both you and your child, but you have to be strong for them,” her mother, Shauna Large, said in a statement released through Ballad. “When Ellee began her treatment, she was so scared. I’ll never forget how much it helped her when Child Life Services came in and showed her how the procedures were going to happen.

“They showed her on a doll, so she could visualize it and really understand what’s going on. It was a huge comfort for Ellee.”

You can help comfort kids like Elle.

One way is to tune to Holston Valley Broadcasting stations Feb. 21-22 for the Ballad Health Foundation’s annual Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon. The event relies on volunteers and community support to raise money for the hospital, with this year’s funding benefiting the Child Life Services Department.

You can pledge your support by texting “KITE” to 5155 or visiting www.niswongerchildrensradiothon.com. And if you want to put together a fundraising team for the event, visit the site or call the Ballad Health Foundation at 423-302-3131 or 423-230-8550.

You could be the equivalent of a giant teddy bear for a child in need.

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