When Owen was in the hospital, I desperately wanted it to feel more like home. I had his nursery ready and waiting for him to come home to. Since he wasn’t able to come home, I brought as many of his things to the hospital as he could use. I couldn’t dress him in any of his clothes, but I could use his own blankets and read him books from home each day.
There wasn’t much I could do to care for him. Everything was out of my hands. The nurses were so gracious to let me choose the blankets for his bedding each day. Every night I would let the night nurse know which ones to use, and she would change them out. I had a collection of books that we cycled through. When Owen was awake, I loved showing him the pictures, and when he was sleeping, I loved knowing he could still hear my voice. I wanted him to know I was his mom and that I was always there with him. Books and blankets created memories with Owen that I will cherish forever.
When Owen’s first birthday approached a few years ago, I decided to host a Book & Blanket Drive for other families in the hospital in similar situations that we were in. I needed my energy that would have otherwise gone into planning a birthday party for him to go toward something that mattered and that was about Owen. The Book & Blanket Drive felt right.
What Is The Birthday Project?
Owen’s Birthday Project is a simple way to bless other babies and children who are in the Cardiac ICU, NICU, or PICU. Owen spent his life in the CICU at Egleston Children’s Hospital after he was diagnosed with a severe heart defect. Two of his favorite things were blankets and books. Each year his family and friends donate books and blankets to gift to children and families in the hospital.
How Does The Birthday Project Work?
We collect new and gently used blankets and books to wash, sort, and package in a beautiful way with a note of encouragement. We then deliver to the hospital for the nurses to give to families throughout the year.
We started this to celebrate Owen’s first birthday and have done it each year since. We have had an amazing turnout. Friends, family, and strangers have contributed so generously to make this project successful. Aden+Anais have donated blankets each year as well.
All of the blankets and books are washed and cleaned, sorted, and packaged with note of encouragement to each of the families.