Officer Justin Childrey, of the Berkley Public Safety Department, hoists his daughter, Matilda, 3, during Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams Dec. 7 at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.

Officer Justin Childrey, of the Berkley Public Safety Department, hoists his daughter, Matilda, 3, during Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams Dec. 7 at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.

Photo by Donna Dalziel


Flashlight program shows strong support for child patients

Volunteers sought for Dec. 24-31

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published December 10, 2018

 Elijah Mikols, 6, of Farmington Hills, shines brightly during Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams. The program aims to show support to pediatric patients and their families who have to spend holiday nights at the hospital.

Elijah Mikols, 6, of Farmington Hills, shines brightly during Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams. The program aims to show support to pediatric patients and their families who have to spend holiday nights at the hospital.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

 Gracie Weber, 6, of Imlay City, shines her flashlight for young patients at Beaumont Children’s during Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams Dec. 7.

Gracie Weber, 6, of Imlay City, shines her flashlight for young patients at Beaumont Children’s during Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams Dec. 7.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

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ROYAL OAK — For the second year, the community has gathered outside the pediatric unit at Beaumont Hospital every night in December with flashlights in hand to support the Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams program.

The community display is designed to hearten young patients and their families who have to spend the holidays in a hospital room. Young patients also receive their own flashlights to shine back at the crowd.

“Many children are unable to leave their rooms and can feel isolated in the hospital as the rest of the world continues without them,” said Kathleen Grobbel, Beaumont Children’s child life supervisor. “With the help of the community, we can make sure they go to bed with smiles on their faces.”

She said Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams was created by the Beaumont Children’s Family Advisory Council — comprising parents of children who have spent time at Beaumont Children’s — and modeled after a similar initiative at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.

“Originally, we thought we’d be lucky if 25 or 50 people were out there, but when people got wind of it, it was so touching to see (large crowds of people) out in the cold and the rain and the snow,” Grobbel said.

She said this year, the event has picked up in popularity, with a huge outpouring of community support each night, but that the hospital is looking for more volunteers for the nights of Dec. 24, 25, 29, 30 and 31.

The event begins promptly at 8 p.m. and lasts approximately five to 10 minutes.

Organizers encourage interested participants to carpool and to arrive early to allow themselves time to park and walk to the pediatric unit, located across from the east entrance. Groups of 30 or more should register online at www.beaumont.org/moonbeams.

“It’s incredible, the sheer volume of lights,” Grobbel said. “I heard a little girl the other day say, ‘Are they all here for me?’ The kids love it, the patients and families. It’s very powerful when you’re upstairs looking down.”

She said Beaumont employees are invested in the program and donate flashlights so each child can shine a light back.

Jim Cook, assistant chief of the Royal Oak Fire Department, said members of the department support Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams every night in December. Other fire departments, such as the Southfield Fire Department, also join the cause, he said. 

“We rotate stations and get the ladder trucks out there,” he said. “The guys took it upon themselves to allocate it out so we get different people and different trucks.”

Cook said being present outside the pediatric unit in a crowd full of lights, with the children shining their own lights back, is a memorable experience.

“I think it’s fantastic,” he said. “I encourage anybody to do it. The kids are stuck there, and anything that can make it a little better, why not do something just as simple as that?”

Bob Ortlieb, Beaumont Health’s senior media relations coordinator, said the event draws people of all ages and from all walks of life.

Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, is located at 3601 W. 13 Mile Road, west of Woodward Avenue.

For more information, visit www.beaumont.org/moonbeams or call (248) 898-5000.

 

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