October 8, 2016 We presented Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital 12,000.00 we all raised for the refrigerators in the patients rooms
Hailey Steward, 9, of Bethel is in her second bout with the disease, so her family has been spending a lot of time at the hospital. Hailey’s mom, Tabaitha, said eating while visiting a patient can be pricey.
She said the family came up with the idea for the refrigerators. They have also been selling T-shirts to raise funds.
“When staying in the hospital, you don’t have options,” Tabaitha said. “You have to buy fast food or eat in the cafeteria. It’s costly, especially when the only one that can get free food is the patient.”
In addition, she said, “When your child is going through treatments, steroids, they become picky and a lot of them can’t eat the hospital food. And then there’s times you can’t leave your room, because your child’s really sick, then you have no way to get anything. When we were able to have a fridge in our room it was lifesaving. It’s crazy how you appreciate the little things when you haven’t had them.”
Recently the Gilead Fire Department came up with a “Firefighters’ Challenge” to raise funds to help buy 30 small refrigerators for $250 each.
So far, enough has been raised for 10 refrigerators, Chief Randy Grondin said. The Woodstock and Andover fire departments, the Roxbury ATV Club and the First Congregational Church of South Paris also contributed.
More information may be found on the Gilead Volunteer Fire Department Refrigerator Drive for BBCH Facebook page .
As for Hailey, Tabaitha said she is doing well with her treatments, but has many more to go.
“Hailey is amazing, she’s strong, and has an old soul,” Tabaitha said. “She’s funny and loves to make people laugh, and plays pranks on them. She truly is my idol and the glue to our family.”
In September, the family hopes to do another fundraising walk in her honor, “and to help families going through what we endure,” Tabaitha said. “‘Team Hailey Hugs’ will be a nonprofit in the next few months. We are paying it forward to others, so important to us/our family.”