SARATOGA SPRINGS – This is a story about two local ladies who happened to be conversing on Facebook.
Neither of them wanted this story to be about them, although their good intentions (and even better actions) are highly notable, particularly when contrasted against the typical narcissistic drivel and/or selfies for attention that seem to dominate my “news feed.” But they are real, and your neighbors.
The first is Kathy Frank, an entrepreneur I have known for years. A caring wife and mother, she’s the type who is always there to support everyone. You know the kind, or at least I hope you do. The other is Laurie Coppola. She’s a nurse in a pediatric intensive care unit of a major regional medical center. Both make their homes in Saratoga Springs.
Kathy had posted something that had inspired her based on a news segment she had seen. It was very simple, yet generated an outpouring of response:
“So many children are confined to a cancer ward for months to receive chemo/radiation yet can't afford things as like an iPad...or simple technology that some of us have more than we know what to do with…Wouldn't it be nice to start a collection of used iPads sitting around our homes and donate them to Capital District Hospitals to give to those children that don't have access to these?”
One of the many who responded was her friend Laurie, who in addition to supporting an ongoing need for these types of items, also noted that her facility had recently lost several items that the children used due to a variety of circumstances. She posted:
“Almost all of the most popular games …are a great tool at the time of need for the sickest of our kids. If you have any games for any kind of platform (PS, Wii or XBOX) and you don't mind parting with them…”
That was all that Kathy and her friends needed to hear. The “likes” exploded, the shares and comments went crazy, and most importantly, donations and pledges starting coming in from all over.
“It was gratifying to see the response,” Laurie said. “I’m really proud to be part of this community.”
As the gently used items started streaming towards Kathy’s home, she posted again saying why she was doing this. Mind you, this is a woman with a pretty full boat to begin with: “…children and parents spend a long and often unbearable time with little family support because the family lives hours away and can't afford to come visit very often… cancer doesn't discriminate/neither does tragedy. We would like you to help these kids in a small way make their stay bearable.”
Kathy and Laurie together identified a list of things that the pediatric unit could use to make their client patients and families stay more comfortable.
- •Leap Pads/V-Tech Games for toddlers
- •Picture Books for toddlers/books for all ages
- •DVD’s for all age groups
- •Games for Xbox/Wii/PlayStation
- •Arts and Crafts
- •Board games (with all pieces included)
- • Card Games i.e.: UNO
- •Any used game system that you have upgraded
As the last item on the list indicates, gently used items are what will be appreciated. While Kathy and Laurie’s friends have been dropping off items to their respective homes, this is a need that is ongoing. A little phone research revealed that several pediatric units throughout the country are sharing this need.
So, we invite you to participate. If you wish, please bring any items that are in good working order and are no longer needed, those that are perhaps just gathering dust in your basement, to our office at 5 Case Street. We will make sure that these items get to Kathy and Laurie, and then to the patients and families that truly need it.
Call it spring cleaning with a purpose. S