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Madden's Birthday Gift Donation

Every year on Madden’s birthday - June 4th, The Madden DeLuca Foundation makes a donation of gift bags to the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Each gift bag includes a blanket, a sleeper, a sock monkey, a book, a headband or bandana bib and a pair of socks. These items must all be brand new or handmade. This year will be our 4th year donating the gift bags and our goal is to donate over 500 bags again this year.  

The reason this program is so close to our hearts is simply because we didn’t buy Madden very many things due to the uncertainty of him ever coming home. So many parents I spoke to in the hospital said the same thing; there was no crib, no car seat, no clothes…no nothing. And it made sense, until we left the hospital without our son. That’s when I realized how important his stuff was. It was all we had left. I wanted to hold and smell his blankets when I couldn’t hold him. I wanted to touch something that he had touched. This is one of the reasons I want every baby admitted into the Stollery ICUs  to have their own things.

On the other hand when these sweet children get to go home, they will have some of their very own things to bring with them. They will have something to remind them of a battle they fought and won.

Each of these items are so important in their own way:

  • Books : Reading to your child gives you a sense of normalcy. Reading can be done anywhere and it is one of the things we were able to do with Madden that made us feel that sense of normal.

  • Blankets:  Multiple blankets are used every day for every child in the hospital. We want every child to have something on their bed that is their own, something soft and bright.

  • Sleepers: There comes a day for most children in the hospital when they can finally wear clothing! A lot of parents don’t have anything to put on their child because it had been so long with so many tubes and wires that they weren’t expecting this day. And sometimes it’s just a really great nurse who finds a way to dress the child even with all the tubes and wires. For us, we needed a sleeper to dress Madden in after he passed away and we didn’t have anything. The hospital did find one for us but it was too big and plain white. I would have loved a nice sleeper to put him in for his first time in clothes.

  • Sock Monkey: One of the only toys we ever bought Madden was a sock monkey. The sock monkey has become a symbol for our foundation and we love being able to share this sweet gift with other children.

  • Socks/Accessories: When babies in the hospital are unable to wear clothing it’s nice to be able to dress them up a little in other ways, again something normal. Madden only ever wore socks and hats so we like to give these to other families going through similar challenges.