Somewhere in my memory I’m trying to find the words that would best describe December 19, 2011. It was a morning like any other. I woke up. Grabbed my coffee, took a shower, brushed my teeth, but then this is when my day began to change. I went into my office and grabbed boxes of OwieBowWowie’s and drove them to Northridge Hospital in Southern California.

When I arrived at the hospital there was a film crew waiting for Owie. They wanted to capture that moment when a child is quietly laying in their hospital bed and in comes their unexpected new friend, Owie.

We met Beth, who is the Child Life Specialist at Northridge Hospital, and she too would have her moment on camera. They wanted to film her to ask her what it felt like to give gifts of comfort to the children within her hospital. They wanted to know what it felt like to have those they’ve never met, give gifts of comfort to the children within her hospital.

When all of us were gathered,  Beth took us upstairs and into a room. Beth, and the film crew put the boxes together and then we were  introduced to two families that gave us permission to film their children.  When it was time to give the children their Owie’s, Beth would knock on their hospital room door, pull the curtain back and say, “Hello, I have a visitor who is here to see you.”

Immediately a small smile would appear. Uncertain to who the visitor was, or if the visitor was going to do something that might be uncomfortable, the fact that we were not wearing a “white” anything, allowed their eyes to signal me to come closer.

“Hi. My name is Gina, and I have a present for you. Do you like to get presents?”  Immediately a smile appeared.

Opening the box I pulled out Owie and said, “This is OwieBowWowie, and he’s been given to you by a special friend.” I then opened the coloring book and read the name of the donor that was within the coloring book and continued… “Your donor wanted you to have a friend while you are in the hospital. A friend who understands what’s it like to have an Owie, and he will never leave your side. Do you like him?”

Another smile  and a nod of approval.

With each room I walked out of Beth would say, “Don’t cry.”

How does one not want to cry when you walk into a room and there is a child lying  in a bed who is hooked up to IV’s and machines that beep, and the silence of their still bodies share that they are ill. Children are supposed to be running around exhausting their parents.

When we were done giving the children Owie’s we then went into the playroom,  and the film crew filmed Beth sharing the importance of giving to hospitalized children. As she spoke there were things that even I didn’t realize about what children and their parents go through. I’ve been in and out of hospitals my whole adult life, but each time I was hospitalized I would actually thank God that it was me and not one of my children.

The New Year is approaching and it seems that during the month of December hearts get bigger. We reach out to friends far and wide with cards and sentiments and buy gifts for those we love. I love December because it seems to be the “giving” month.

My question is what about January? February? March? April? May? June? July? August? September? October and November?

Yesterday, when I left the hospital, I promised myself that I would spend the rest of my life bringing awareness to children who may not get a December, and make sure that the eleven months between will become just as important as the one I seem to celebrate the most!

My new and forever favorite quote that I made up is now… “NO HOLIDAY REQUIRED TO GIVE!”

I challenge everyone who reads this tiny appointment to make an appointment with yourself and each month pick a charity or a friend to give to. Look forward to it. January is the beginning of a New Year, and if all of us promise to make the difference in the life of another… oh how the world would change!

I believe that we can never give enough love away. That’s why I’m such a friend to Jesus. He loved everyone, and gave to others unconditionally. No agenda. No contract, and all He asked for in return was to believe in Him. Interesting how everything that has to do with love must begin with believing in love.

And, there are rules to giving. One must decide to give. That’s a MUST! And one must be cheerful when they give love away because love given away in anger is never received with love!

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver— 2 Corinthians 9:7



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