A Michigan community is helping spread the light to children whose hospital treatments are keeping them from being home for the holidays.
Each night in December, people gather outside Beaumont Children’s Hospital right before the kids go to bed. Starting at 8 p.m., each juvenile patient shines a flashlight from their hospital room window, and the community – up to 1,000 people some nights – respond with flashlights, glow-sticks and police lights. One night Santa climbed the ladder of a firetruck to wave to the kids peering out the windows.
"We work in the hospital every day and so we know first-hand kind of how it can feel being stuck in there. It can be lonely, you can feel secluded, you can feel forgotten," Amanda Lefkof, a child life specialist, told FOX 2 Detroit about the event designed to help the kids through a difficult time.
“Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams” only lasts for a few minutes, but the joy it brings the children is the extra boost they need, knowing they’ve got a whole community supporting them as they spend time recuperating in their hospital rooms.
“Many children are unable to leave their rooms and can feel isolated in the hospital as the rest of the world continues without them,” Beaumont Children’s Child Life Supervisor Kathleen Grobbel said. “With the help of the community, we can make sure they go to bed with smiles on their faces.”
One of the little girls who benefited last year from "Moonbeams" plans to attend one of the events and shine her flashlight from the outside this time – something many who work at the hospital have seen firsthand.
"I've been in both places,” Lefkof added. “I've been outside shining the lights up and I've been up in the rooms with those kids shining back down and they get so excited and they think it's the coolest thing ever to see how many people are down here showing up for them."
The initiative was started last year by the Beaumont Children’s Pediatric Family Advisory Council at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.