I was asked to attend a York Central Hospital Foundation board meeting, to inspire the Major Gifts Team to go out and find donors to fund the remaining 3 pediatric rooms. The hospital has 6 pediatric rooms, of which, one of them is our Zack's Dream Room funding by our amazingly generous friends and family! I was so proud to announce to the members of the board, that we have currently raised just over $43,000 in Zackie's honour!
What I learned is that each room needs $25,000 to be completely renovated (the rooms are still in the original 1973 form with very few changes made over the years). It was during our meeting that I also learned that the $25,000 includes all new equipment; monitors, beds, sleeper beds for parents and new cribs in rooms that currently have them.
After the meeting, my plan was to meet with the foundation staff to discuss the progress of Zack's Room and what the remaining $18000 that has been raised, would be used for. Initially, the excess funds were to be allocated to replacing the old metal cribs with state-of-the-art cribs. As it now turns out, the $25,000 budget for each room INCLUDES a crib! So the need is no longer there. The greatest need, it seems, is to fund the entire renovation of the remaining 3 rooms.The hospital has several proposals out in the community and are confident that at least 2 of the rooms will be funded by the holidays.
That leaves one room left, waiting to be funded, so that children, like Zack, will have a much more comfortable environment, with brand new equipment and a fabulously decorated room, in which to stay when they are sick. When we were asked in the spring, if we would like to fund 2 rooms, both Paul and I felt very strongly that we were building "Zack's Dream ROOM" not ROOMS. Since Zack's room had such a theme and a story, it didn't feel right to just create a second room. So, we chose to replace the cribs ($5500 each!). There are currently no other needs in the Pediatric or even Emergency units at York Central.
I was once again asked if we would be interested in funding another room, in Zack's honour. We are $6500 shy of the $50,000 needed for two rooms to be completed. This time, I really considered what this would "look" like and the story that we could create surrounding the second room. Elmo and Zack's Dream Room is certainly the priority and the main room in which to honour all that made our son so incredibly special.
But, did we have another chance to share some of Zack's inspiration with this second room?
I started to think about other ways in which we could honour Zack and therefore, create another room as special as he was. It had to really MEAN something! My first thought was to our other boys, Ty and Jayden. Could this be a way for them to help create a space for their brother and really participate in this project? Could they be included in Zack's legacy? I think so!
Our family has always had favourite animals for each of us; Paul is the lion, Ty is the cheetah, I am the elephant, Jayden is the hippo and Zack was the giraffe. The zoo and animals have been so important in our family.
Could we create a Zoo-themed room with our 5 animals....as a way to keep the 5 of us together forever? A symbolic way to honour our family of 5.
So, I'm asking YOU- our biggest supporters, family and friends.
How do YOU feel about funding the second room?