A note from the president from Amber’s Angels….Last week was such a flurry of activity for Amber’s Angels. Christmastime is one of our late founder Amberlyn Fett’s favorite time of the year. Amberlyn’s mission was to make sure that ALL patients in the hospital over the Christmas holidays received a Christmas Gift Bag. Amberlyn wanted to help the children smile and forget for just a little while that they were in the hospital.
Amber’s Angels delivered to two children’s hospitals and also a dialysis unit with patients that are not usually part of the festivities. Thursday we delivered to the pediatric unit at the University of Texas Health Science Center. This is where Amberlyn had her life saving double lung transplant in 2009. She wanted to as she said “Pay it Forward”. If it wasn’t for this hospital and her donor she would not have been able to live two more years and be with her family and friends. Before she passed she told me that she wanted to make sure that we ALWAYS included UTHSC for our Christmas Gift Bags.
Not gonna lie, I haven’t been back there since Amberlyn’s passing and wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to. But once Rebecca met me at the door she was with me the whole time. She is a Child Life Specialist at UTHSC and she knew what I was experiencing. There were times after seeing a patient that I had a break down in the hallway. But I have to say there were more smiles than tears. One patient she had a broke leg and was in such a positive mood. Her Mom was shocked at us coming to give gifts. When Rebecca told her about Amber’s Angels and how Amberlyn passed last year the Mom got all emotional. Her daughter touched my heart, she told me “I am so sorry that you lost your daughter.”! She had an elf hat and told me that she wanted to give it to me. I told her no that it was hers and she informed me that I needed the hat to play the part of being Santa’s Elf! =) She then said that she was saving money for a toy pony but she wanted to give me a $1.00 from her savings. I really told her no but she said “It is more important to help you with your cause than for me to have a toy pony”. What a sweet heart. Then there was the male patient that had just had surgery. He was sleeping so we went and talked to his Mom. She was reading her bible and when we gave her the bag and she saw the Nintendo Game Boy in there she broke down and cried. She said with her son in the hospital she hadn’t had time to go get him a present and to tell you the truth she didn’t have money to. She said we were an answer to prayer. I wiped her tears and told her not to cry & Merry Christmas. There were more that we gave to that were so appreciative of as they said “our generosity”.
Friday was Amber’s Angels big day at Dell Children’s Medical Center, DCMC. This is where it all started. Well not exactly, the idea really started at Children’s Hospital of Austin, CHOA, when Amberlyn was in high school. But CHOA later turned into DCMC. I have to say Amber’s Angels has a great group of volunteers. These people are friends of Amberlyn’s and some have been with us since the beginning. I couldn’t do this without them and I love them all so very much.
As the patients came in you could feel the excitement with them. They weren’t sure what to expect and some when then opened their bag were totally floored by what was in it. One patient we heard wanted a PURPLE Furby and yes we made sure that is exactly what she got!!! =) Then there were others that were shocked to see that they had either a ipod Nano or a Nintendo Game Boy. We had a Dad come in to get his daughter’s bag. I told him that he needed to make sure to protect the bag. He looked at me like “Why”. When he saw the ipod Nano in the bag he said “That is just crazy!” I told him “No sir, its Christmas!” He stood there in disbelief for a second and then reached across the table and hugged me. He whispered “Thank you so much!” And then there was the patient that came in spiderman pjs. When I reached into the box to get his bag, guess what was in the bag? Yup you guessed it, it was totally full of Spiderman stuff!! I didn’t plan it that way. Amberlyn was once again doing her thing from Heaven.
On Sunday Rachel and I went to the Dialysis unit to deliver our gift bags. We couldn’t take pictures because most of the patients were there without their parents. But I can tell you that they were happy to get their gift bags. Two of the patients have been there the past three years. That is a long time to be on dialysis. One of the male patients had asked for a game for his PS3 and a best buy gift card. From his reaction I think he was surprised that he got what he asked for. He was smiling from ear to ear and kept saying thank you.
That my friends is why we do what we do at Amber’s Angels! Amberlyn used to say that if she could make just one person smile then she knew she did her job. Well Amberlyn….from all the smiles that I witnessed, yes you did your job well! You always said that you wanted to make a difference…you have sweetheart and you are STILL making an impact on someone’s life.