Having one of the tiniest members of the community in the hospital is heartbreaking. You want to send the child a gift that is meaningful, something impactful. Something that will MAKE A DIFFERENCE. When you are small, spending one hour in the hospital is too long.
The right toy or activity can bring a patient hope, distraction, a smile.
My daughter was diagnosed with childhood leukemia when she was 3 years old. She spent almost all of age 4 in the hospital. Specifically, in the bone marrow transplant isolation unit of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Her longest stint was 8 months and her shortest was 5 days. Through chemotherapy and transplant, we used gifts as distractions to not only bring joy, but also to facilitate healing. The right gifts can do just that. More about Reese’s incredible journey can be found on the HOME page.
I have compiled multiple lists of appropriate gifts to send a young pediatric hospital patient. Below you will find gifts for a pediatric oncology child who is experiencing a long-term hospital stay. These gifts are all about FUNCTION. Things that make the child’s quality of life better while dealing with things like chemotherapy.
For other lists, please see these links:
For the Pediatric Cancer Patient who has a Long-Term Hospital Stay
This child is in the hospital to receive treatment like chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant. This list is packed full of FUNCTIONAL gifts. These are the kind of gifts designed to physically and mentally HELP.
The Zoku Slushy Maker is a must have. You put this cup in the freezer and PRESTO. You have a compact slushy maker. You take it out, add juice, and use the spoon to scrape the sides while the slushy forms. It’s extremely entertaining and it has a very specific function in a cancer patient’s hospital room.
After chemotherapy, this can be a creative way to get the child to try “solid” food again. It can also be a calorie builder if you use it as a shake. Or, when the diet is limited, the Zoku can be satisfying due to it’s unique texture (slushy) and strong flavor (you choose.)
A bone marrow transplant patient is extremely limited when it comes to intake. They can not use standard hospital ice chips (they are not filtered) and they can’t eat or drink outside food and beverages. They can only drink things that are prepackaged. Certainly nothing as interesting as a slushy.
There are essential oils that are credited with the power to help control nausea. This is a BIG deal. There is a long list of meds a child can be on to treat the horrible nausea. Zofran, Ativan, a scopolamine patch, Benadryl… my daughter was on all of these. But smelling her essential oil at the right moment HELPED. This is why she wore them, so she had access right when she needed it. I recommend purchasing these scents with this diffuser bracelet or necklace. Then the child can smell each anti-nausea scent, a “smell test”. It’s personal, they decide which helps with nausea. The winner goes on the bracelet. Now you have the child invested, and some science that says this stuff works. It did for us. (My daughter started with peppermint, moved to lavender, then lemon, back to lavender, and finally orange.)
A Bitty Baby is a great companion and peer for a young hospital patient. This doll can be used as a model for new procedures and medical devices, making them less scary and intimidating. My daughter’s Bitty Baby received all medical attention first, while she watched and learned. Then, she cared for her baby the way I cared for her. Reese’s Bitty Baby had a central line and an NG tube, just like Reese. She would flush her “toobies” and feed her through her NG tube. This made these strange and uncomfortable processes familiar. This gift was empowering and beloved.
Perfect Petzz. For a boy or a girl. This is the only kind of pet they will allow at the hospital. You may have seen these “sleeping dogs” at the mall or on TV. It’s a very realistic dog that “breathes”. My daughter loved this gift, and she loved tricking the nurses (it looks and acts SO REAL.) It’s a fun gift that makes for giggle-filled activity (tricking everyone) as well as keeping busy (she loved taking care of her pet.)
And finally… Gifts that Give Back
Resilience Gives. This company was started by a pediatric bone marrow transplant survivor. The socks are IDEAL for the hospital patient. Each pair is thick, warm and has grips. These three things are necessary because hospital floors are hard, cold and slippery. For each pair of cozy, slipper socks you buy, one is donated to a pediatric cancer patient. Oh, and they were designed by pediatric cancer survivors. (4 styles to choose from, my daughter happened to design the one above!)
Cuddle + Kind Unicorn. The unicorn is the symbol of magic, miracles, and enchantment. And you know how much I love symbolism behind a gift. These dolls are 100% cotton and super snuggly. Every doll is lovingly handcrafted by women artisans in Peru, providing them with a sustainable, fair trade income. And for each doll purchased, 10 meals are provided to children in need. Reese is holding the LARGE.
Thank you for visiting our site. It is my hope and goal to use our experience to make another child’s experience even just a little bit better. Gifts were an important part of Reese’s experience and I saw first hand the power of the right present. Many of the gifts above are through Amazon Prime. Why Amazon Prime? They don’t charge delivery, and they deliver within two days. Which means that they can make it into the hospital room in 3. This is huge. Please message me to share a story if you think of it. I love to hear about the power of a gift!