The Pediatric Gastrointestinal Illness Foundation

My Story 

My name is Grace and I am the founder of The Pediatric G.I. Foundation. In 2014, I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis, a rare gastrointestinal motility disease. While receiving treatment at Boston Children's Hospital, where I eventually overcame my illness, I learned that there is a wide range of serious and debilitating gastrointestinal diseases that children struggle with each day. Given my positive outcome, I felt compelled to help other children who are battling similar illnesses. All donations will be directed exclusively to activities that are consistent with my dual mission of funding initiatives and providing support for patients and their families. 

1. Funding: Pediatric G.I. Programs 

The Child Life Services Program at Boston Children's Hospital

This program promotes patient's development by normalizing daily routines, activities, and environment. Child Life Specialists encourage and facilitate developmentally appropriate activities in individual and group settings, and initiate tutoring support for patients missing school due to hospitalization. Specialists also helps patients enhance their coping skills while dealing with fear, pain, anxiety, and separation from family, friends, and their familiar environments. Child Life Services supports the celebrations of milestones including birthdays and holidays, and such events are supported by fundraising.

How we Help: Raising Funds

The Pediatric G.I. Foundation raises funds that support the Child Life Services Program at the Boston Children's Hospital Pediatric Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition. Our fundraising assists Child Life Specialists in their efforts to improve the lives of Pediatric G.I. patients and their families. Representatives from Boston Children's Hospital regularly send updates that illustrate how our funding is creating a positive impact on the lives of patients. Learn more by subscribing to our monthly newsletter! 

2. Direct Support: Pediatric G.I. Patients and Families 

The Patient Family Housing Program at Boston Children's Hospital 

Supported entirely by volunteers and philanthropic contributions, this program provides affordable accommodations for up to 35 families while their children receive the medical care they need from Boston Children's. The Patient Family Housing Program relieves tremendous daily burdens so parents can concentrate on giving their children the love and support they need to heal.

How we Help: Sponsoring Outreach Activities

The Pediatric G.I. Foundation hosts activities coordinated with the Patient Family Housing Program at Boston Children's Hospital. Volunteers create snack bags for families, work in the garden where families and patients spend considerable time relaxing, cook meals for families, host pantry and food drives, and organize holiday activities and seasonal events. 

3. Our Impact 

 

  • APRIL 2017: Launched with a Fundraising Paddle Tournament and Raffle. Together, we raised over $3,000. 
  • JUNE 2017: Volunteers crafted uplifting and cheerful bracelets that were distributed to Pediatric G.I. patients at Boston Children's Hospital. The bracelets were mounted on small pieces of cardstock with inspiring quotes and messages.
  • DECEMBER 2017: The Sacred Heart Varsity Cross Country team ran the 2017 NYC Big Apple Half Marathon to raise funding and awareness. The team finished in a time of 1:58:26. 
  • JANUARY 2018: Launched our official website, giving page, and monthly newsletter! 
  • MARCH 2018: Made our first official grant of $1,500 to the Pediatric G.I. Child Life Services at Boston Children’s Hospital. Child Life representatives were able to purchase medical play/teaching dolls, NG Tube stickers (that make having an NG tube more decorative, less threatening), and diversional activities that will allow patients to be immersed in activities during lengthy procedures and/or admissions.
  • MAY 2018: Hosted a Pantry Drive at Walter Stewart’s Market to support the Patient Family Housing Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.
  • JUNE 2018: Volunteers created snack bags and baskets using the items collected in the Pantry Drive. These snack bags were delivered to BCH for families to take with them as they navigate their day.
  • JULY 2018: Hosted a barbecue picnic for patients and their families at Boston Children’s Hospital. 
  • NOVEMBER 2018: Collaborated with East Elementary School students to create Thanksgiving Craft-Kits for patients at Boston Children's.
  • MAY 2018: Hosted our second annual barbecue picnic for patients and their families at Boston Children’s Hospital. Volunteers also created snack bags and baskets for BCH families to take with them as they navigate their day.

4. Testimonials 

 

  • "We have been keeping a growing wish list of supplies that, until now, we have not been able to realistically consider being able to pursue. We are very excited to purchase several items that will be sure to have a positive impact on numerous patients over the coming year. These supplies include: medical play/teaching dolls, NG Tube stickers (that make having an NG tube more decorative, less threatening), and diversional activities that will allow our patients to be immersed in fun and expressive activities during lengthy procedures and/or admissions. We can’t thank you enough for your kindness – your donation will truly brighten the stays of so many patients we are honored to care for.”  Kriste Priven & Jennifer Nguyen, MS, CCLS, Boston Children’s Hospital Child Life Specialists
  • "I was immediately impressed by Grace’s passion and enthusiasm for helping others in need and I was amazed that she was just in high school herself. Once she makes up her mind about something, she’s going to do everything she can to make it a success. In working with Grace, she has been kind, professional, and dedicated and we feel fortunate to the Pediatric GI Foundation benefit our patients and families.”   Colleen Gleason-Epple, Director of Leadership Gifts at Boston Children’s Hospital Trust
  • "I instantly noticed her can-do attitude, dedication to fundraising, and passion for supporting patients and families affected by gastrointestinal complications. Grace’s kindness, generosity, and steadfast support through the Pediatric GI Foundation is something that has, and will continue to, touch many lives at Boston Children’s Hospital.”  Jessica Brandi, Special Events Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital Trust

 

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