For Ray Smith, there’s nothing like seeing a dad dressed up as a ladybug. On October 16, Smith kicked off a Halloween celebration at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU through Spirit of Children- complete with Halloween costumes for kids and parents.Every year, Smith works to make the the holiday memorable for children, even though they are in the hospital. Children and teens wear costumes, paint pumpkins, play bingo and this year will watch the classic, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”“Nothing is more stressful than having a child in the hospital, and it certainly makes holidays tough,” said Smith. “We try to ease that stress by taking care of everything, and making the party just as much fun for the parents as it is for the kids.”Spirit of Children contributes to Child Life programs at children’s hospitals across the country, including Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. Child Life supports the developmental, educational and therapeutic needs of children undergoing medical treatment, helping families cope with illness and find normalcy in childhood. Child Life staff is dedicated to making the child and family feel more at ease and more at home during their stay in the hospital.“Kids need an outlet to be themselves and not feel so confined in the hospital,” said Heather Kinney, CCLS, CPST, senior child life specialist at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. “We try to capture as many important childhood experiences for patients as possible.”The Spirit of Children met their goal last year of raising $3 million for 100 children’s hospitals across the country, including $80,000 over three years for Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. Donations made at the Spirit of Halloween store in Richmond, and any of the 17 locations in Virginia, go to the Child Life program at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.
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See more photos from the Spirit of Children Halloween event at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU on our Facebook page.