McKade’s LWB Playrooms
When it came time for my son McKade to choose an Eagle Scout Project, he knew immediately that he wanted to do something for Love Without Boundaries. When LWB announced they had been granted permission to put two playrooms in two Chinese children’s hospitals, McKade really wanted to help. His brothers and sister have special needs and spend a great deal of time in hospitals, and the Forever Young playroom there makes their time in the hospital very enjoyable.
I recommended to McKade that he raise the money needed for one playroom ($5,000), but he was ambitious and wanted to raise the funds for two. I agreed to help McKade promote his Eagle Scout project on social media, but he had to do the rest. McKade put flyers up all over the neighborhood and texted people asking for their support.
McKade had so much help along the way. His project was shared with Steve Young (a former NFL player who started Forever Young playrooms), and he supported McKade’s project.
Strangers hearing about McKade’s project would make donations because they thought it such a worthy goal. Many tears were shed during these eight months by seeing how McKade’s project touched people’s hearts. When McKade had $1,800 left to raise, we put a plea on social media asking everyone to donate $1. No one donated just $1, and by lunchtime, he had received the remaining amount needed.
Not only did McKade need to raise the money for the playrooms, but he also was responsible for gathering items for the playrooms. My husband and I decided it would be wonderful if McKade could go to China and see these rooms himself for the grand opening. So, a list was made of items we could easily bring to China, and again McKade asked people for their support. Within hours, everything on the list was purchased by wonderful supporters. So with McKade and his brother Kian, we made the journey back to China with donations in our luggage.
When we arrived at the hospital in China, we were not prepared for the greeting we received.
A line of doctors and nurses were waiting for us, and as we stepped out of the car they began to applaud. That alone was overwhelming — and then we walked to the playroom.
We were greeted by several beautiful children, and the playroom looked amazing. A big chalkboard read welcome “LWB visitors”.
As McKade stepped into the room and looked around, he began to cry. He was literally blown away with emotion. He hugged me so tight, and of course, his dad and I began to cry with him.
Once we got our emotions under control, we started greeting the children. We were told several were orphans and several came from impoverished families. We were also told several of the children would stay in the hospital for up to a year for physical therapy.
Next, we were presented with a plaque that read, “McKade’s LWB Playrooms”. We had no idea the rooms would be actually named after McKade, so this was a big surprise.
You could see the joy on McKade’s face as he held the plaque for pictures. Then a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place. After several months of preparation, the rooms began buzzing with excitement as we opened toys and presented them to the children to play with. The wonder in the kids’ eyes was thrilling as they began to play with toys, color in coloring books, build with blocks and magnets, read books and look at the pictures; those who were able could ride the rocking horses and bounce on the play toys.
The hardest part was not being able to communicate in their language with these children, so we tried over and over with our actions to show them how special we feel each child is. How much we wanted them to smile, laugh and have a brighter day. Staying in a hospital is hard enough, and we pray from here on out a little joy can be found during difficult times.
We were also able to see the place where the second playroom will be located. Again, we were greeted warmly by hospital administration. We were taken on a tour of the hospital and were also able to visit all the orphanage children currently in the hospital receiving care. It’s a beautiful hospital that is so bright and cheery. The open space will be wonderful and inviting for all children.
We could see several of the items needed for the playroom had arrived but were told many more items such as furniture needed to be delivered before they could set up the room. We also witnessed several families at the hospital all there because their children needed treatment.
We know we will get pictures once this project is completed and we know this room will bring as much joy as the other room. Who knows — maybe one day, every children’s hospital in China may have a playroom. How wonderful would that be?
We left with our buckets filled that day, seeing McKade’s Eagle Scout project come full circle. McKade had done what he set out to do: bring joy to children during their hospital stay. We left honored to be a part of LWB because we know without this charity, McKade could not have made this possible. We also left humbled. It is always hard to go back to our real lives and try to manage all that we are blessed with, so we make the promise to just keep serving those less fortunate. We make the promise to never forget any child we have ever met. Their names are forever written on our hearts and will remain in our thoughts and affect our actions.
McKade wants to thank everyone who made his project a reality. We will never be the same after being part of this project, and we know it will have a great impact on McKade for the rest of his life. As parents, we can’t wait to see what McKade does next.