EDITOR’S NOTE: Cass Huff is a 13-year old special needs student at Burien’s Sylvester Middle School. She is also our newestÂ columnist… by Cass Huff Hey Readers! Welcome to Cassidyâ€™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:
â€œAt 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 Iâ€™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 Childrenâ€™s Hospital. Over the years, my organization has expanded and we are now able to do our â€œSmile Packages.â€ In each and every package, we always include a bracelet because thatâ€™s where it all started. But of course, I donâ€™t do it alone. I get other teens and some of my friends to help me deliver and stock the packages.â€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 â€œSmile Packagesâ€!
â€œSome people say what Iâ€™m doing is â€˜So amazingâ€™. But honestly this is simply what I love doing and I couldnâ€™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 itâ€™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.â€When I asked her what the hardest part of the job was for her, this is how she replied:
â€œWell at first I didnâ€™t get very close to the kids I worked with. It was more of a â€˜Hereâ€™s your Smile Package itâ€™s nice to meet you! I wish you my best!â€™ and then I left. But over the past couple of years, I have gotten extremely close to my Smile kids. Itâ€™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 â€œrobotsâ€. They think after you see it enough times it stops being hard. But it doesnâ€™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.â€And then she quickly added:
â€œBut an answer you might be more expecting is keeping all of the applications and ‘Smile Teams’ organized. Itâ€™s also pretty hard to have to turn away and decline applications for families that apply when their kids donâ€™t qualify.â€Then I tried to flip the mood around by asking her what her favorite part was.
â€œMy favorite part is knowing that Iâ€™m making a difference in their lives I absolutely love that feeling. I love the relationships I build with the patients and families, itâ€™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 â€˜Iâ€™ll only let go if you promise that you will come back next time youâ€™re here and play with me again. Do you promise?â€™ These kids are awesome and Iâ€™m so lucky to get to work with them. So my favorite part is knowing that Iâ€™m making in impact on their lives even if itâ€™s just for a few minutes.â€I donâ€™t know about you, but that made me tear up when I read it. Whew! Okay!! Well thank you so much for reading Cassidyâ€™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 Until next time! â€“ Cass]]>