To see joy in our kids who are sick so often, it makes a difference
Malachai Stancle of Battle Creek has spent many months of his short life at Bronson Children’s Hospital. Born with his intestines on the outside of his body, the six-year-old has undergone multiple surgeries and procedures. Each stay in the pediatric unit usually lasts two or three weeks. “It’s hard for people to imagine what the life of a chronically ill child is like,” says Malachai’s mom, Quelsea Cromwell. “He has to spend a lot of time in isolation.” Bronson’s child life specialists make sure he has plenty of games and distractions and help explain tests and procedures. Art and music therapists also pay visits to help with psychological and emotional health.
It’s toward the end of Malachai’s visits when Quelsea says she sees the all-around healing really accelerates. “His mood changes because he can get out of his room and enjoy himself.” Much of this mental and social shift takes place in the children’s hospital playroom. “When he’s in the playroom, he’s ten times happier. He can start being a kid and not just a patient.” Quelsea says it’s not only the activities, but also that he has the opportunity to interact with other children. She benefits from it too. “I get to meet other parents and share our stories and bond.”
This room that means so much to hospitalized children, is in need of a refresh. Designed 17 years ago, little about it has changed. A renovation project will add modern features and create age appropriate areas for infants and teens. It will take the generous support of community members to assure it gets done. Each gift will show Quelsea and other parents like her that people in our region are committed to brightening the lives of ill and injured children.
“To see joy in our kids who are sick so often, it makes a difference.”