CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Every year I get to help deliver stuffed toy puppies to young patients at Levine Children's Hospital, something magical happens. Today was no different!
This is the 13th year the Community Blood Center of the Carolinas has given "Puppies for Patients." Here's how the program works, people who donate blood and platelets between November 1 and December 31 sign a gift tag that's then attached to a toy puppy, which is given to kids in the hospital during the holidays.
Sometimes it's the sweet messages donors add to those tags that have the grown-ups choked up! One I read today, "You're brave! You're strong! You're going to make it!"
The first stop on our delivery mission was a playroom where I met 6-year-old Alexis. I sat down so I could introduce myself, and look into her beautiful brown eyes. Before I knew it, she was hugging me.
"She's a hugger," one of the nurses said.
You aren't kidding! It was the best hug ever! She put her whole self into that hug. We giggled, smiled, and for a few minutes, I could see she'd forgotten the physical therapy we'd interrupted.
She immediately decided the puppy's name, "Diamond"!
Saving local lives is what the CBCC is all about.
"The blood we collect every day of the year gives thousands of local patients the gifts of hope and life as they fight their battles with cancer, sickle cell disease, and countless other illnesses," said Martin Grable, president, and CEO of the Community Blood Center of the Carolinas.
"But these handwritten messages of love and kindness attached to our puppies directly connect our selfless donors with the brave boys and girls spending their holidays in the hospital. Those children count on our community's support, and our donors consistently step up to provide it."
I never ask the patients what they're being treated for, it doesn't matter. All that matters is our mission... show these kids that total strangers are rooting for them and giving a gift that could potentially save their lives!
A big thank you to Levine Children's Hospital for the care you give. Every parent said over and over again, how fortunate they felt their child was getting treatment at your hospital!
The CBCC is a wonderful local non-profit and the primary blood supplier to our region's hospitals.
To learn more about how you can donate blood and save local lives, click here.