Children’s Hospital hosts Valentine’s Day party Hundreds of patients receive a teddy bear thanks to the Big Hearts for Little Hearts Guild and Redlands Adventist Academy
Baby Kaleb Moreno’s hospital crib was decorated by his family’s Valentine’s cards.
Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital is a second home to baby Kaleb.
“He has spent all of his first holidays in Children’s Hospital,” says Sarah Moreno, Kaleb’s mother. “These events are a perfect way for our family to spend time together.”
Children’s Hospital hosts several events throughout the year, including an annual party every February 14.
On Valentine’s Day, the Moreno family joined more than 100 other children in the hospital for an afternoon of fun making Valentine’s cards. For the past nine years, the Big Hearts for Little Hearts Guild Inland Empire Chapter has planned the “Teddy Bear Valentine’s party.”
Each child received a cuddly gift from the guild—a teddy bear. About 30 of the teddy bears came from the first grade class at Redlands Adventist Academy. They took a field trip to the Build-A-Bear Workshop® at Ontario Mills, where each student made a teddy bear, and gave it to LLUCH for this event. In addition, Babies"R"U
Rylee, 3, takes a short break from designing Valentine’s cards.
s donated the crayons for the kids’ big day.
Kaleb’s older sister, 3-year-old Rylee, got a bear, too.
“He’s a boy,” Rylee giggled as she embraced her new friend. After much thought, she and her mother decided to simply call him Teddy.
“I’m going to put him in my bed,” smiled Rylee.
Another girl sitting at the same table, 5-year-old Victoria, created a valentine covered with red and pink hearts for her dad.
“It’s hard for her to be in the hospital, but when she hears about an event coming up at the hospital, she can’t wait,” explains Patricia Garcia, Victoria’s mother.
In fact, Victoria was discharged two days before the Teddy Bear Valentine’s Party, but wanted to stay until Wednesday so she could attend the event. So they came back for the big day.
“She loves arts and crafts,” smiles Garcia while her daughter made a red card for her dad.
Across the room, 9-year-old Josh decorated a card that reads, “I love mom” in the center of a red heart.
“This is a wonderful diversion for kids to think about something else,” says Eloise Habekost, a board member and one
Five-year-old Victoria creates a Valentine’s Day card for her father during the Children’s Hospital party on February 14.
of the founding members of the guild. “No matter how sick they are, they are ready to take part and pick up their crayons. It gives courage to us adults to see how resilient they are.”
According to Ms. Habekost, the guild used to serve tea and refreshments during the party. However, because many kids couldn’t eat the food, they decided to pass out Valentine’s day activity books instead. Board member Carol Troesch made the books and decorated the heart-filled room.
Erin Pagel-Mohr, president of the guild, explained that volunteers took up trays covered with art supplies and a teddy bear for patients who couldn’t make it down to the event. Then they helped the child make a valentine at his or her bedside.
Although baby Kaleb Moreno was too young to realize it, his parents and sister made valentines to decorate his hospital crib.
“Children’s Hospital has been wonderful,” says Sarah Moreno. “They try to make it as close to home as possible.”
She looked over at her daughter who was obviously having a great time decorating her card. “We’re never going to get her out of here,” laughed Moreno.
By Patricia Thio
Editor’s note—This article first appeared in the February 23, 2007, issue of The San Bernardino Sun newspaper. (Reprinted with permission.)