The month of April proved to be the greatest manifestation of Win-Win’s mantra, “Love.Serve.Give.” It is a message that resonates in the heart of each and every Win-Win entertainer and volunteer. April posed some of our greatest challenges as we were deeply saddened and affected by the loss of three of our dearest, youngest friends in the span of 5 weeks. Children whom we had grown to love, visiting with them through our Win-Win Wednesday program at Sunrise Children’s Hospital. We were fortunate enough to get to know these brave, amazing children, and their families. They became part of our little Win-Win family, part of our story and purpose. Our friends endured difficult, lengthy hospital stays – in particular, our friend, Nimo, struggled through a consecutive 10-month stay.
Our performers gave of themselves with each visit with our friends– not just their time and talents, but their hearts. They provided entertainment, smiles, laughter, and the sweetest distractions from our friends’ struggles. We were witnesses to the compassion and kindness of the nurses and doctors who cared for them, and we did our best to encourage them, as well as the families, during our visits.
Our young friends’ families shared with us how much the children looked forward to our Wednesday visits. One mom shared that her son had given her strict orders for her to wake him if he was ever asleep when we arrived, he did not want to miss a visit. Another mom told us, through tears, that we gave her 10 year old daughter something to look forward to every week in the middle of all the chaos. The nurses shared that our 8 year old friend would only smile when we would visit. At each one of our friends’ funeral services, the families shared photos and videos of the children with Win-Win entertainers – cherished memories of the happy moments they had shared, in the midst of some of their most difficult times. These are the gentle reminders of the impact of what we do – this is why we do what we do.
There is no greater grief than the loss of a child. There is no more chilling reminder of our frailty, of our mortality in an imperfect world. There is often the temptation to try to make sense of the loss, and we struggle to find a satisfactory explanation. But we can look to the many powerful lessons in love and grace.
To our Win-Win family of entertainers and volunteers: Thank you for all you do in support of our young friends, and your willingness to serve. This is our shared legacy.
To the parents and families of our young friends: Thank you for the gift of your children, and the lessons in strength and faith you have shared by your example. The Win-Win family will forever keep our friends in our hearts. We keep you in our prayers for peace and comfort.
Vivian Wright-Bolton, Executive Director, Win Win Entertainment