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Shriners Children’s Northern California Celebrates 500 Little Wishes Granted

patients in wheelchairs and staff celebrating in hallway with pom poms

Brothers Kyle and Kadan were the 500th and 501st recipients of Little Wishes.

Every child deserves to feel special. Hospital stays can feel long, disheartening and scary. Shriners Children’s Northern California partners with Little Wishes to give patients a little bit of magic during their stay.

Little Wishes is a nonprofit with the goal of making hospital experiences a little happier and a lot more fun. A “little wish” is something to comfort a patient during their stay – it could be a new pair of shoes, a special treat, athletic gear or even a birthday party! For children who are inpatient for two or more weeks, having a little wish granted can go a long way.

“The great thing about this program is the wish comes from the kids themselves,” said Allie, a child life aide.

staff celebrating with pom poms

Shriners Children's Northern California staff celebrate with Kyle and Kadan.

Making Wishes Come True

Because this program requires patient connection, the recreational therapy and child life teams have a dedicated Little Wishes coordinator, Caryn Hack. Caryn works directly with child-life specialists to identify patients who could use a little extra magic during their stay. After identifying a patient, she chats with them to make a list of items to go shopping for.

“Sometimes kids are here for longer than two weeks, so we’re able to grant more than one wish,” said Caryn. “One of my favorite wishes was creating a closet for a little girl filled with princess dresses.”

Caryn’s wish-granting days are on Fridays – she walks around the hospital sporting a pair of light-up fairy wings and waving a wand.

“All the kids know me and call me the Wish Fairy,” she said.

A Magical Milestone

Recently, Caryn delivered the 500th and 501st wishes to brothers Kyle and Kadan. The brothers’ shared hospital room was transformed into a Mario Kart theme and covered in balloons. The recreational therapy and child life teams threw a big celebration to commemorate, complete with a hallway cheer squad that included third-floor nursing staff. Much to their delight, the boys received Lego sets, video games, and a steering wheel attachment for their Nintendo Switch.

“It’s because of organizations like Little Wishes that we can make our patients’ stays more special,” said Caryn. “We’re very grateful to Little Wishes for continuing to partner with us.”

Thanks to partnerships like Little Wishes, Shriners Children’s Northern California is able to specially tailor care to be kid-centered. They help Shriners Children's provide the most amazing care anywhere.

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