The Creation of Hope Has Fun

HopeHas Fun Child Life Mommy

Often times, when people face challenging moments in their lives and lean on others for support, they build a unique sense of empathy and resiliency. There is a deeper understanding for others going through a similar challenge and they want to help, by paying it forward.

I am so excited to introduce Hope Has Fun, a program created by an amazing family that are helping to bring smiles, comfort and fun to children and families in the hospital.

Here is Izzy and Laura’s story

hope has fun

We’re coming up on the tenth birthday of our daughter, Isabella Grace. It’s also close to the ten year anniversary of her first hospital stay. At ten days old, she was really sick and spent some time in the hospital. No diagnosis or cause for her illness was found, but since she improved, they sent us home with instructions to come back if she grew sick again. For almost ten years, we’ve “come back” again and again for ER visits, hospital stays and many tests with the hope it will be determined what disease is specifically affecting her young life so much. We have some answers, but for now, the metabolic/genetic diagnosis is still “suspected” and not clearly understood. She lives with daily pain and frustration and we hope science catches up soon with some help and relief for all she experiences.

Izzy 1

Still, Izzy hopes. She sings, dances and hates math. She loves to read and write and really, really wants other kids who are in the hospital to have a chance at some fun while they receive medical care. A doctor once told her he wanted her experience there with his team to be the “Disneyland of hospital stays.” When you ask her what she remembers of that inpatient time, she talks about all the fun she had, not the IVs, medicine and feeling terrible.

With Izzy’s many stays in the hospital, she’s had visits from pet therapy programs and others in the hospital who have given her books, toys and stuffed animals. She really wanted to be a part of that kindness and happiness for other kids, to help them have fun in the hospital while they received care. After a lot of brainstorming about ways to help, our organization, Hope Has Fun, was started this past fall!

Izzy 2

As I was researching how we could best accomplish what Izzy wanted to do for young patients in the hospital, I kept coming across Child Life program information. In all our years in the hospital, my understanding of the role of Child Life was still extremely limited. As we’ve talked with other families who have pediatric medical experiences inpatient, it seems somewhat common for us to not fully understand or realize the role of Child Life in a pediatric patient’s hospital and medical treatment experience.

So we’re on a mission now, to be Child Life’s biggest cheerleaders, advocates and supporters! We believe it’s just as important to have Child Life support as part of the medical team as it is a medical specialist or pharmacist. The presence or absence of Child Life support can make or break a child’s perspective of their health care and the anxiety that can follow can be incredibly disruptive and unhealthy. The work done by specialists in the Child Life field is invaluable and we want to find ways to highlight and support their roles as an important part of the medical team.

We’re really excited about contributing to the support of what Child Life does because we believe if a child can feel empowered and reflect positively on their hospital care, they will go on to have a much healthier outlook on any future medical care they might need with decreased anxiety and more courage and confidence.

Izzy 3

Along with making sure Izzy’s goals of bringing fun to patients in the hospital are met with Hope Has Fun, I really want to bring more community awareness (and fundraising opportunities) to the value and depth of services offered by Child Life programs in the hospital setting.

Hope Has Fun will be collecting donations, a different theme or project each month, to support the work Child Life is doing to make the hospital experience be one that brings confidence, fun and courage to young patients and their families. We have lots of plans in store for partnering with the community, Child Life programs and families to bring hope and fun to the pediatric inpatient experience.

To learn more about us, visit or contact us at

Can also follow on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube

hope has fun

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Giving Tuesday


Today is a day that we should all give back. Find an organization or someone in need that could benefit from awareness, resources and financial support.

I am a strong advocate for any child life program or organizations that provide support to children and families.

As a bereavement facilitator at The Center for HOPE, I want to bring awareness to this amazing organization. They are in desperate need of financial  support so I created a GoFundMe account, in hopes to continuing the services to the bereaved children and families.

Please check it out and share it with friends, family and colleagues.

GoFundMe Center For Hope

Center for Hope logo -- revised


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Blessing Bracelet


Giving Tuesday logo from



Blessing Bracelet


When a loved one dies grief can take over our body and mind with intense pain and sense of loneliness. The loss can bring a ripple effect of struggles, financial stress, single parenting, isolation, along with the overload of emotions of anger, resentment, sadness, guilt and shock.

With the right support from bereavement counseling, children, adolescents and families can find a way to express their emotions, learn strategies to cope and find ways to honor their loved one.

Center for Hope logo -- revised

I have been a volunteer with Center for HOPE for the past 4 years and can’t express how amazing this bereavement program is. The facilitators are compassionate about helping the children and their families grieve and find hope.

The Center is funded through grants and private donations, which makes it very difficult to stay afloat. They need a lot of support to continue their services to the community.

This holiday season they have partnered up with Blessing Bracelets to raise money.

center for hope copy3

These are beautiful bracelets and make perfect gifts for friends, family, coworkers and teachers. I purchased two myself and love them.


Each bracelet comes with a tag with this message:

Whenever you wear it acknowledge one blessing in your life for each pearl on the bracelet.   Each time you are drawn to the bracelet, silently find four people or things you can be grateful for.  Be grateful for:  Your children, a flower, your dog, a perfect cup of coffee, a roof over your head – just find something.  The more you wear the bracelet and the more blessings you find, the more you will be blessed.  In one year, if followed, you will be aware of a profound change in your life.

They are made of sterling silver and gemstones.

They are $20.00 and all proceeds go to the Center for HOPE.

If you are interested in purchasing one or would like to donate to the Center, please contact Susan Thomas or myself, Shani Thornton.

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