Beyond Fetal Heartbeats: Our Partnership with HEARTS Club and Duke’s PBMT Family Support Programby Elizabeth MacDonald
My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear has recently partnered with the H.E.A.R.T.S. Club of Hillandale, NC. This partnership came to light in the most divine and graceful way, and we are excited to share just how our Heartbeat Animals have been and will be used to capture memories, calm fears, soothe anxieties, and spread cheer on the 5200 Ward at Duke Hospital.
Duke Hospital is unmatched when it comes to the life-saving techniques used in their Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program (PBMT). Children who are blessed to receive one of the 16 available beds are in the most skilled hands. The PBMT Program provides children and young adults hematopoietic stem cell transplants (from unrelated donor umbilical cord blood stem cells, half matched siblings, and unrelated adult donors in patients who do not have a fully matched donor) as a treatment option for a variety of disorders such as hematopoietic malignancies and solid tumors including neuroblastoma and brain tumors, inherited immune deficiency syndromes, bone marrow failure syndromes, hemoglobinopathies, and inherited metabolic diseases. Entering the 5200 Ward of Duke Hospital is the last hope that these young patients (and families) have. While many will experience the Hero Walk, others lose their fight and gain their wings. Each patient, their families, the Duke medical staff, and the support staff are living every moment in hope.
The H.E.A.R.T.S. Club (Hillandale Embracing A Really Tough Situation) was formed to help provide anything and everything that the Duke PBMT Family Support Program may need. The support program relies on donations to aid the families of the patients. There is no short stay on the 5200 Ward, and the financial strain, separation from siblings and family, and emotional tolls are all too real. While art supplies and movies are beloved items on the floor, falling behind on rent, affording a hotel, purchasing food to eat, and traveling to and from the hospital is what weighs on the minds of parents instead of focusing solely on their child. The PBMT Family Support Program takes as much of the weight off of these families as possible.
The H.E.A.R.T.S. Club also ensures that every patient and family experiences happiness during their stay - and afterward! While their typical holiday parties, birthday parties, full movie theater rentals, dinner parties, and outings have all been put on hold for health and safety reasons, they are still planning for their return as soon as possible. In the meantime, donors and volunteers from the program are still gathering, fundraising, and finding every opportunity to spread cheer!
There was a patient, Savannah, who had a grand ripple effect on everyone involved in this partnership. She passed away several years ago while staying in the 5200 Ward. She was smart, funny, and passionate. She wanted to leave something behind, and we hope she knows just what an impact she made. A dedicated and caring nurse found our company and knew instantly that every family entering the program needed a Heartbeat Animal. This, however, would take donations. Another nurse on the floor had lost her brother, Jon-Paul to bone cancer, and her family had been actively looking for a way to honor him. They graciously began supplying My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear Animals to the PBMT Program.
The H.E.A.R.T.S. Club reached out to us inquiring about placing another order, as they learned that our animals were not just being used to record the heartbeats of patients passing away. Our Heartbeat Animals are used:
- As keepsakes for families as soon as a patient is admitted for a transplant.
- To record a poem, song, or message from the patient to a family member (or from a sibling, parent, or grandparent to the patient).
- To connect siblings who are far apart throughout this journey.
- To record a new joke every day.
- To record the parent’s heartbeat for the patient to snuggle with.
We knew this story needed to be shared, and that so many of you may feel drawn to support this wonderful charity. We will be honoring both Savannah and Jon-Paul, and we will stand with the H.E.A.R.T.S. Club to aid Duke’s PBMT Family Support Program.
If you would like to help, please purchase directly from the PBMT Family Support Program’s Amazon Wishlist.