Former Prisoner of War Jessica Lynch introduced patients of WVU Childrens Hospital to her Pals Wednesday.
p. She delivered about 50 stuffed animals to kick off Jessis Pals, an initiative to collect new stuffed animals for patients of WVU Childrens Hospital.
Lynch, from rural Palestine, W.Va., is the former Army Private First Class who was rescued after nine days of captivity during the first days of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
She said she received stuffed animals from all over the world while recovering from injuries suffered in the war. Becoming mother to 7-month-old Dakota Ann in January has deepened her commitment to the well-being of children.
“I have always had a special connection with children, and I am really excited to be involved with WVU Childrens Hospital,she said.
When I first came home from Iraq, it was especially encouraging to read cards and letters children wrote me telling me to get better and not to give up. That experience kind of reinforced my connection to kids, and that connection is a driving force behind my involvement with WVU Childrens Hospital. Support of the hospital is important for children and important for West Virginia.”
Lynch, who will chair the Jessis Pals campaign, also pledged a $1,000 donation from her Jessica Lynch Foundation.
p. “We are grateful to Jessica for starting this campaign and helping us add another special touch to our outstanding care here at WVU Childrens Hospital,Cheryl Jones, director of WVU Childrens Hospital, said.
Each child leaves WVU Childrens Hospital with a blanket and a stuffed animal. We want to give them something to cuddle and make them feel secure while they are here and something to remember us by when they go home.
Donations of new stuffed animals or money for the project can be made at Clear Mountain Bank locations in Monongalia or Preston counties, or call Children’s Hospital at (304) 598-4346.
“As a locally owned and managed bank, it’s important for us to support our local community and WVU Children’s Hospital is a part of that community. Jessi’s Pals is a wonderful project and Clear Mountain Bank is proud to support this endeavor,”Clear Mountain Bank marketing director Clint McCabe said.
Eventually, the program will expand to include more drop-off locations around the state.
p. WVU Childrens Hospital is located on the sixth floor of Ruby Memorial Hospital It includes a pediatric and adolescent unit, a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), a suite of 25 labor-delivery-post-partum rooms for the mother and infant (Maternal Infant Care Center MICC ), and an activity room and a teen room as part of its Child Life Program. Each year, WVU Childrens Hospital provides care to about 7,000 newborns and children, who come from every county in West Virginia, and from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Ohio. On average, 1,800 babies are born annually at WVU Childrens Hospital, 48 percent of which are high-risk deliveries.
We offer subspecialties and services unmatched by other hospitals in the region,Giovanni Piedimonte, MD, chair of WVU s Department of Pediatrics, said.WVU Childrens Hospital is the place families come to for routine and high-risk pregnancies, and all aspects of care for their children.