Giving back — Youngsters spearhead hospital donation projects

ESCANABA – University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor is noted as among the best children’s hospitals in the country, and the only hospital in Michigan to rank in all 10 specialties evaluated according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2013-2014 Best Children’s Hospital Rankings. Recently Parent’s Magazine also rated them as 8th in the nation.

Adrian and Reid Brazeau of Escanaba have been visiting and receiving care at the children’s hospital since before they were even born. They were both born with a cleft lip and palate and make annual visits to the specialty clinic at Mott to see a comprehensive team of specialists, plus they travel down for other procedures and surgeries as needed.

When Adrian was born, she also had an unexpected health issue and had to be flown to Mott on Survival Flight when she wasn’t yet 24 hours old. The doctors, nurses, and staff that give them care at Mott have made such an impact on the whole family, that they are excited when they find ways to give back to the hospital.

In the past, Adrian’s Girl Scout troop did a book drive for new books to send down for the giving library at Mott. Children who are receiving in-patient treatment get a visit from the traveling library cart, and can choose a new book to keep. Some used books were also donated to the drive and were not able to be donated. Adrian and Reid decided to sell them to raise money to donate to the program. Between the book sale and a lemonade stand they set up, they raised about $100.

This year Adrian, 9, noticed a sign at McDonalds stating that they will take pop tabs for their Ronald McDonald house charities. She asked her mom if there was a Ronald McDonald house at Mott. The kids were so excited that they started planning immediately for how to collect pop tabs to donate. Both kids attend Lemmer Elementary School and asked their principal, Matt Reeves, if the school could get involved. He was happy to help. The classrooms had a competition, and the Brazeau’s rewarded the two classes that collected the most tabs with a treat. The outpouring of help from Lemmer was amazing. Many friends and family have also helped to collect tabs. They even got a pack in the mail from as far as California.

This spring Reid, 7, decided he could do even more. For his birthday at the end of April, he asked for donations of art supplies to donate to the Mott Child & Family Life program. They do art projects and other fun activities with children who are waiting to have procedures, or are staying in the hospital afterwards. In the fall of this year both Adrian and Reid had surgery on the same day, and it really helped to comfort them as they waited in pre-op to go in for surgery. Eight of his friends came to his party and made generous donations of all kinds of art supplies. When Reid saw all of the supplies he ended up collecting and thought about how it will help other kids to get their minds off of pain or fear, he said, “I feel like a true American.”

According to their mother, the kids were very excited to head down for another appointment at the end of June and bring their donations of pop tabs and art supplies.