Children who are chronically ill or have life threatening illnesses go through so much while in the hospital, and one Mineral mother of three is trying to make life a little less stressful for them and their family.
Jessica Kidd worked and volunteered for more than 10 years in emergency services, medical transports and pediatric critical care and noticed that hospital gowns didn’t fit children well, or at all.
More than two years ago her own daughter, Madeline, was admitted to the University of Virginia Hospital after an accidental fall resulted in a concussion. Having no gown Madeline’s size the hospital allowed her to wear her own clothes, which did not stay cleaned. A 24-hour EEG was being performed, which meant Madeline was stuck in the same dirty clothes throughout the process.
Before the accident, Kidd had been working on sewing a gown for a friend that was about to have a baby and did not want to wear a hospital gown. After Madeline’s accident and experience in the hospital, Kidd decided to make gowns in smaller sizes for children.
Kidd’s charitable mission is to provide chronically ill children with something fun and personal to wear when they are unable to wear their own clothing.
The gowns are provided at no cost to the families, and each gown that is requested is embroidered with the child’s name.
There is a criteria for the free gowns Kidd said. The gowns are made strictly for children who are chronically ill or have life threatening illnesses. The three big ones the organization typically works with are children who have heart defects, genetic disorders or cancer.
“Almost all of our kids fall under one of those categories,” Kidd said. “Unfortunately, some fall under all three at some point. A lot go under two.”
In the two years since Kidd started “Gracie’s Gowns,” she has received more than 1,300 requests and has supplied approximately 1,200.
“We have a wait list with about 100 kids on it,” Kidd said. “We mail out to hospitals as well.”
Helping Kidd with the huge volume of sewing are volunteers Linda Fosdick, of Mineral and Teresa Whitehead, of Stafford.
Every day Kidd spends time on the gowns whether it is taking in new requests, ordering fabrics or sewing.
“The whole process from the fabric being laid out until the last snap is done is roughly two hours,” Kidd said of the time it takes to make one gown.
The gowns have been requested from all over the world including families in the Philippines, Canada and Australia, but Kidd would like to be able to reach more children here in Virginia.
To read the entire story, see the May 22 edition of The Central Virginian.
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