A group gathered outside of Beaumont Hospital’s pediatric unit spreads holiday cheer through the hospital’s Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams program last year. The event will take place at 8 p.m. Dec. 1-25. All you need is a flashlight.

A group gathered outside of Beaumont Hospital’s pediatric unit spreads holiday cheer through the hospital’s Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams program last year. The event will take place at 8 p.m. Dec. 1-25. All you need is a flashlight.

File photo by Donna Dalziel


Lights to make Christmas bright for young hospital patients

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published November 22, 2019

ROYAL OAK — Beaumont Hospital’s popular “Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams” initiative will return for a third year Dec. 1-25.

Beginning at 8 p.m. each evening, crowds will gather below the pediatric unit to shine flashlights up toward young patients and their families who can’t be home during the holidays to let them know they are not alone.

Pediatric patients also receive their own flashlights to shine back at those gathered on the ground outside. Beaumont employees donate the flashlights so that each child can shine a light back.

The display usually lasts for approximately five to 10 minutes, but organizers said that’s often all it takes to lift hospitalized children’s spirits.

“As the parent of a child who has been in the hospital during the holidays, our family recognizes the importance of Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams,” Wendy Lemon, of Royal Oak, said in a prepared statement. “My family knows how alone you can feel being admitted to the hospital during these times. And that’s why when we are not in the hospital, we love shining hope through our flashlights from the other side of the glass.”

As the program grows, so does the community’s creativity. From glow sticks to Christmas lights to the illuminated lights on firetrucks and other first responder vehicles, all support is welcome.

Assistant Chief Jim Cook, of the Royal Oak Fire Department, said his department, along with many others in the area, have participated in the program since day one.

“We send one of our two ladders trucks over there as often as we can, which is usually a couple of nights a week, and if we can’t get our ladder truck, we try to get an engine there from the station right at 13 Mile and Woodward,” he said. “The guys love doing it. This isn’t something we have to push to motivate the guys.”

Beaumont Children’s Child Life Supervisor Kathleen Grobbel said the Beaumont Children’s Pediatric Family Advisory Council brought the program to Beaumont and modeled it on a similar initiative at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.

At the beginning, she said, organizers hoped for a showing of at least 25 to 50 people. Now, the view from the windows of the pediatric unit is like a sea of shining lights from those gathered on the sidewalk near the Medical Office Building, across from the east entrance. 

“We are so incredibly grateful to have captured the enthusiastic support of the great Royal Oak community,” Grobbel said in a prepared statement. “In addition, we very much appreciate the selfless dedication of our volunteers and staff, without whose efforts we would not be able to make this popular event happen.”

The event is free to attend. Organizers request that those interested in volunteering register online in advance to help promote a comfortable flow of people and traffic each night of the event.

Organizers encourage volunteers to arrive early and carpool if possible.

Parking is available in the two lots across from the north parking deck and just east of the Medical Office Building, as well as in the neuroscience center parking lot. For handicapped-accessible parking, follow the signs to the handicapped-accessible lot.

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

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

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.