EDITOR’S NOTE: Cass Huff is a 13-year old special needs student at Burien’s Sylvester Middle School. She is also our newest columnist… CASSIDY'S COLUMN: 'That Lucky Bracelet' makes impact on kids with needs 1 by Cass Huff Hey Readers! Welcome to Cassidy’s Commentary! Today I am talking about an organization that is very close to my heart. This organization is called That Lucky Bracelet or TLB. TLB was founded at the time by 9-year old Sophie Harris. Sophie has a few chronic illnesses so when she was younger she used to have flares and get hospitalized a lot. When asked about how her dream began, and how it has grown, this is what she told me:

“At the time, I was in a hospital in Denver that has an outpatient program that specializes in my specific condition. I made bracelets with the art and child life therapists for my friends that I had made during my time in the unit. Over the years I’ve gotten care packages from friends, family, and several organizations. I noticed it really made a huge difference during my own hospital stays. So I knew that I wanted to find a way to help other patients going through similar things. And I knew that I was very lucky with my health and there were patients that had even more serious conditions. After I was discharged and at home, I started making a ton of bracelets that I ended up donating to Seattle Children’s Hospital. Over the years, my organization has expanded and we are now able to do our “Smile Packages.” In each and every package, we always include a bracelet because that’s where it all started. But of course, I don’t do it alone. I get other teens and some of my friends to help me deliver and stock the packages.”
Sophie is now 15-years old and TLB is still running smoothly. She is still receiving a lot of love and support and continues to make kids smile by giving them their well deserved “Smile Packages”!
“Some people say what I’m doing is ‘So amazing’. But honestly this is simply what I love doing and I couldn’t imagine spending my life doing anything else. I love walking down the hospital halls with my wagons full of toys. And I love being one of the few people who get to walk into the hospital rooms and deliver smiles rather than delivering painful procedures or medicines. Because I truly believe that laughter is the best medicine and it’s an incredible feeling to bring that joy into those hospital rooms. I would say these kids are seriously the most amazing kids in the entire world. And I love them more then I could ever express.”
When I asked her what the hardest part of the job was for her, this is how she replied:
“Well at first I didn’t get very close to the kids I worked with. It was more of a ‘Here’s your Smile Package it’s nice to meet you! I wish you my best!’ and then I left. But over the past couple of years, I have gotten extremely close to my Smile kids. It’s really hard to see them go through any pain whatsoever. A lot of people assume that people like me, who work in these communities are almost like “robots”. They think after you see it enough times it stops being hard. But it doesn’t. It never stops being hard, it actually gets harder and harder. Without a doubt the hardest part is when I have to watch them pass. Losing the kids that I work with is always the hardest part. Definitely.”
And then she quickly added:
“But an answer you might be more expecting is keeping all of the applications and ‘Smile Teams’ organized. It’s also pretty hard to have to turn away and decline applications for families that apply when their kids don’t qualify.”
Then I tried to flip the mood around by asking her what her favorite part was.
“My favorite part is knowing that I’m making a difference in their lives I absolutely love that feeling. I love the relationships I build with the patients and families, it’s honestly incredible. Like last week I was visiting this girl and when I was getting ready to leave she reached out for my hand and refused to let go. She said ‘I’ll only let go if you promise that you will come back next time you’re here and play with me again. Do you promise?’ These kids are awesome and I’m so lucky to get to work with them. So my favorite part is knowing that I’m making in impact on their lives even if it’s just for a few minutes.”
I don’t know about you, but that made me tear up when I read it. Whew! Okay!! Well thank you so much for reading Cassidy’s Commentary! I had so much interviewing Sophie Harris and I hope you liked reading about her incredible story! If you want to donate or find out more about That Lucky Bracelet please go to: https://www.crowdrise.com/ThatLuckyBraceletSmilePackages/fundraiser/sophieharris1 or check it out on Facebook at Facebook.com/thatluckybracelet FullSizeRender IMG_5353 IMG_5354 Until next time! – Cass]]>