I was reminded of the generosity of our community when I heard the ding of a new text and looked down at my phone on Sunday, “Brierley’s birthday party is today and we’ll be collecting gifts for Boxes of Fun again. Brierley is excited and sends hugs to all of you – “especially Jack!” xoxoxox”
This is the second year that my friend Marybeth’s daughter, Brierley, has requested that her guests donate to Boxes of Fun. She’s not doing this because her parents have forced her or to add to her “get into college portfolio”. She’s doing it because it’s a beautiful, wonderful thing to do AND she’s a beautiful, wonderful girl. She’s also not just helping the kids on the transplant floor, she’s helping our family remember how much love is out there.
If you are new to our story you might be wondering about Boxes of Fun. Boxes of Fun is our family’s way of “paying it forward”. Seven years ago, as we prepared for Jack’s transplant, our friend, Kim, became a huge support. Not only was she a close friend, but she was a cancer survivor who had gone through a stem cell transplant herself. She understood what we needed better than anyone. She organized meals, babysitters for Anna, dog walks and, inspired by a box that had been made for her, Kim started preparing a box of goodies for Jack. It was a huge box filled with notes, gifts and love from friends and family all over the world — she named it The Box of Fun.
Jack was in the hospital 100 days and the Box of Fun sat under the TV so that he could see it from his bed. It not only provided fun toys for Jack, but it provided a welcome distraction for everyone who spent time in his room. It was a constant reminder of all the love that was holding us up.
When our family starting digging out of the hole of transplant, we wanted to do something to give back to the hospital. First, we made three big Boxes of Fun for the Transplant Floor – one filled with arts and crafts, one with games, and one with books. It was a huge success so we kept going. For five years we’ve managed to give each child who goes to Columbia Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital for a stem cell transplant their very own Box of Fun. It’s not quite as big as Jack’s, but they’re filled with games, puzzles, books and a little love from a fellow patient.
Anna is our official decorator and filler, but we’ve had loads of help from the community. We’ve had children from town help us decorate the Boxes and are always impressed by the donations to fill them. One note on Facebook and we have a pile of goodies on our front steps.
Thank you Brierley for your donation and for being you!! I’m amazed by your generosity. I’m turning 45 in November and I’m not mentioning Boxes of Fun to any of my friends;-)