Michelle Kaminaris, a kindergarten teacher at Hampstead Hill Academy in East Baltimore, has seen kids miss school for all kinds of reasons. Like most of us, she never expected her own child to miss school due to a serious illness. But when her daughter Eva (an eighth grader at Hampstead Hill Academy) started showing flu-like symptoms, a trip to the doctor confirmed that Eva would be missing school due to pneumonia.
From there, Eva had more tests and doctors found a tumor on her ovaries. The tumor was removed after an emergency surgery, but she still had to spend time recovering at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH). While she endured a slew of poking and prodding and scary medical diagnoses, it was the Child Life team and other skilled nurses at UMCH who made her hospital stay a positive experience.
Eva (fourth from left) and Hampstead Hill Academy’s Kiwanis Builders Club pose with their donation to UMCH
“We had unbelievably phenomenal care. I never had to leave my daughter,” Michelle said. “One of the nurses even gave up his lunch hour to take Eva to play and walk around.”
Post-discharge and feeling better, Eva was determined to give back to the place that took such great care of her. She started looking online for ways to help and found UMCH’s toy wish list.
She sought help from her school’s Kiwanis Builders Club, and recruited some of her friends and classmates to help. The club, seven members strong, started planning fundraisers, bake sales, art supply and Band-Aid drives, and a paint night.
Shannon Joslin, Child Life Manager, describes the Child Life Program to the Hampstead Hill Academy Kiwanis Builders Club
The students stayed after school one day to stretch the canvases for the paint night by hand and helped cook food for the event. Thirty-five families came out after school to support the club and raise money for the cause.
The club went shopping for items on the UMCH wish list with the money from the fundraisers. They picked out high-demand items like DVDs, video games, building block sets and card games, all which they personally delivered to the hospital.
As Eva heads to high school, she wants to ensure that this is not a one-time donation. Even if she can’t start the club at her new high school, she plans to keep in touch and continue giving back to UMCH. Michelle’s youngest child, inspired by Eva’s involvement and by UMCH’s great care, plans continue the family tradition and join the Hampstead Hill Builders Club next year.
Many thanks to the Hampstead Hill Academy’s Kiwanis Builders Club! Your continued support of the Children’s Hospital ensures we have the resources available to make every patient’s stay comfortable and fun.
Interested in giving to the Children’s Hospital? Here’s how you can help.