Just under three years ago, our friend Zachary was diagnosed with Advanced Congestive Heart Failure, Cardiomyopathy, and Severe Atrial Fibrillation. Last month, at only 27 years old, the doctors informed him that he would not be returning home until he received a heart transplant. Amazingly, God provided a heart donor in just over 30 days, with an average wait time upwards of four months. His road to recovery will not be easy, but if anyone can do it, I know he can.
Zachary is one of the most genuine, loving, and caring people I have ever met. I am truly honored to call him one of my dearest friends from college. We met move-in day freshman year, with him pledging B’s fraternity shortly after. From all of the DeltaSig and ADPi events, to 420 yardies and all night study parties in the library, he could not have brought more joy to our years together at GCSU. If you would like to donate or learn more, please click here.
After receiving the exciting news about Zachary finding a heart donor match, my mother and I immediately put our heads together about how we could help. At first, I did not want to push myself into such a fragile situation, afraid of offending or interrupting family time, but my mother informed me otherwise. She reminded me to treat others as I would want to be treated (one of my absolute favorite life mottos) and to think how many people were thinking as I first did… i.e. possibly no one had been by to visit, bring food, etc. and that it does not hurt to take care of people, no matter what the situation.
Start off with a list (hint hint…this printable, above) and decide which type of box you plan to use. Be sure to brainstorm which is the most convenient for the situation at hand and do not be afraid to get creative (I have used everything from wicker baskets to metal pales, such as in this post). Personally , I prefer receiving gifts in reusable baskets rather than paper that will just end up in the trash. Green and effective!
For our game plan, we knew Zachary and his family were in for the long haul (heart transplant patients average an in-hospital recovery time of 6+months), so we opted for the ever so handy-dandy plastic storage bin. An example would be for the mother/father of a newborn baby or a shorter hospital visit…you may only need a basket or smaller case such as here, here, or here.
Next, begin gathering all of your items and brainstorming the organization of everything // think heavier items…waters, sodas, magazines, etc. … on the bottom and lighter items…word puzzles and other drawing activities, snacks, and toiletries … on top!
After some research and a mild brainstorming session, we decided to group items by category. Gallon Ziploc bags work wonders for this measure. I printed labels for each main category, using each to identify specific categories of items (see printable here). I attached these to darling label tags (which you can find at your local craft store or online) and packing-taped them to each individualized baggie of goodies. This allowed for both organization during preparation, as well as organization for the family as they utilize and take advantage of the contents.
Once you have everything organized…close that baby up, add a cute bow and card, and it’s delivery time! I decided on a burlap bow that could slide on and off easily, but added the character I desired to an otherwise plain and boring plastic box. At the hospital, the gift shop will usually be more than willing to loan you a delivery cart. Also, don’t think too far into the timing of your delivery. If you see the family, great. If you miss them, the nurse station will gladly delivery your package. No reason to stress anyone or yourself out attempting to drop it off in person. The entire point is to provide something that will help ease their nerves during a difficult and wearisome time.
Lastly, do not forget to remember your audience. This package was intended for a group of 30+ Christian women (hints the home decor magazines). Other groups may include:
- Those whom you know enjoy adult beverages…add bottles of wine, a corkscrew, plastic cups, etc.
- Men…add male magazines (my husband likes Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, etc.)
- Women who like fashion or celebrity gossip…add magazine such as Vogue, People, Us Weekly, etc.