Well, that's a wrap! The 2021 UCP Family Support Annual Toy Giveaway was AWESOME!
We served 69 families and gave away over 200 toys. Woo hoo!
We'd like to send a gigantic thank you to UCP's Family Support Director, Katherine Ball. Katherine ran the entire event, start to finish--soliciting for toys, picking up toys, setting up the booth, and working both days.
Alas, due to some unforeseen events, Katherine had fewer volunteers than expected. She even had to put the gigantic UCP pop-up tent by herself; as she says, "I wish I had a video of it. It would have been a hilarious elf moment!"
Thank you so much for all your hard work, Katherine!
PS: All of the toys that couldn't be picked up at the Toy Giveaway were mailed out in time for them to arrive by Christmas Eve.
Katherine would like to say "thank you" to the following folks:
Greetings from Day Two of UCP Oregon's Toy Giveaway!
It's rainy and cold, but our Holiday Elves are feeling festive and ready to give away some awesome toys!
NOTE: This is a two-day even for families who are raising children who experience cerebral palsy or a related disability. Families pre-registered to receive free toys.
Special thanks to our shivering Chief Elf, Katherine Ball (Family Support Director).
Happy Tuesday! This is just a quick reminder that the 2021 Annual Toy Giveaway is this weekend.
Are you registered? The event is this Saturday and Sunday (December 18 & 19th), from 10am-4pm. It will be a drive-thru event in the UCP parking lot.
The event is for families who are raising children who experience cerebral palsy or a related disability. We'll have lots of toys to give away, holiday music, and some festive helpers!
We can't wait to see you.
Happy December from UCP Oregon's Family Support Department!
We're excited to announce the 2021 Annual Toy Giveaway. The event will be held on December 18 & 19th, 10am-4pm. It will be a drive-thru event in the UCP parking lot.
The event is for families who are raising children who experience cerebral palsy or a related disability.
You must RSVP to participate.
Each family will get a 15 minute time slot. We'll have lots of toys to give away, and some festive helpers!
We can't wait to see you.
Did you know that November is "National Family Caregivers" Month (NFCM)?
It's a time to honor America's family caregivers, raise awareness about caregiving issues, and (hopefully!) increase support nationwide for caregivers.
As the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services points out, "Families are the primary source of support for older adults and people with disabilities in the U.S."
Interestingly, they also point out that nearly half of all family caregivers in America are over the age 50.
So, this November make sure to say an extra big "thank you" to the family caregivers in your life.
And if YOU are the caregiver in your family, UCP says thank you to YOU for YOUR hard work! We see you, and we appreciate you.
Do you have negative emotions stuck inside you? Would you like to learn a simple way to move them out?
Join Lenore Eklund (a UCP parent, author and illustrator) for an hour of approachable art exercises. You'll open up new space, and learn to express yourself through spontaneous drawing.
You don’t need art experience or special supplies to participate! All you need is a pencil (or another drawing tool of your choice), paper, and an interest in exploring what you could create.
The workshop is free, and it will be held online via Zoom.
PS: Lenore recently published a book, Release: A NICU Fairytale. Learn more about it here.
As you probably know, we recently held an online chat with a UCP mom, Lenore Eklund, who wrote a book (Release: A NICU Fairytale). Lenore discussed the process of dealing with NICU trauma.
The event went really well! It was attended by several UCP families, friends of families, and educators. Many different experiences and perspectives were shared.
Lenore said she woke up the next day feeling "so invigorated!"
Lenore added, "I think the conversation deepened the understanding of what families experience in the NICU. I also think the connections made between those in attendance will help grow the network of support that is so vital for this medical marathon most of us are on."
Even more exciting--Lenore said that there was talk about creating more space for releasing trauma through art. "It is something I'm really interested in, so I am looking forward to exploring more of this with the community."
Woo hoo! Thanks to Lenore for speaking, Katherine Ball for coordinating, and all the attendees!
As you may know, we’re hosting a discussion with the author of a new book, who just happens to be one of the moms in UCP’s Family Support Department!
On October 7th, Lenore Eklund will be talking about her book (Release: A NICU Fairytale), and the process of dealing with NICU trauma at our event. Register here.
We thought it would be fun to learn more about Lenore before the event. Thanks for answering our questions, Lenore!
1. How did Charlie end up in the NICU?
About 10 days before I had Charlee, we learned she had excess spinal fluid causing a lot of pressure on her brain. We had to switch gears very fast and plan a c-section delivery up at OHSU. Charlee was born 3 weeks early.
2. What was your NICU experience like?
There was so much uncertainty around why the conditions were keeping her in the hospital. As our stay lengthened, we searched for answers to figure out why her oxygen saturations sporadically dropped, why she continually had bradycardic episodes, and why she was unable to eat by mouth. Medical providers had ideas of procedures and surgeries to try. Some of the ideas we were able to discuss together and dismiss. Some of the ideas made us feel backed into a corner. No one could tell us which decision was the right decision to make.
3. How did you end up coming up with your book idea?
During Charlee's second neurosurgery when she was just over a year old, a support worker gave me a care package that had some colored pencils and a sketchpad. I started drawing boats rolling in waves and happy suns playing in the clouds, but I made a comic about something that was really frustrating me about the hospital and that felt really, really good to get out. That's when I started on Charlee's birth story and our story of being in the NICU.
4. What was the process of writing it like?
The graphic novel was also about releasing all of my feelings of anger, overwhelm and uncertainty. The act of making this book was about sending those feelings through my body and out onto paper. It was something I could spend hours in the evening doing after Charlee went to bed or on busy days, a couple minutes between running laundry and starting a feed.
5. What are your hopes for the book and/or the people reading it?
By releasing this story through publication, it is my hope the story will provide a conversation around preventing unnecessary NICU and hospital trauma, supporting families through medical crises and healing unresolved emotions.
First, Lenore published a short story in Mutha Magazine in 2018. Then, Lenore found herself writing a 186-page book about her experience.
And, circa last month, the book has been published! It’s called “Release: A NICU Fairytale.” Here’s the description:
“Once upon a time, expecting parents planned the birth of their daughter just like every other family. However, circumstances unforeseen around the child’s health led to a birth unimagined. The reality felt unbelievable. The only way to understand what happened is through fairytale. A spell casted on the baby girl kept the child locked away in the hospital’s NICU with a troupe of kaleidoscopic characters. All the first time parents can do is hope they make the right decisions to break the spell and bring their baby girl home. Release is a tale of strife, endurance, and ultimately love.”
At the upcoming event, Lenore will be talking about the book, and the process of dealing with NICU trauma at our event. Register here.
Hey, guess what! One of the moms in our Family Support Department, Lenore Eklund, recently published a book! Way to go, Lenore!
We hope you'll join us in celebrating Lenore and her book, during a virtual event on October 7th.
Lenore will give us a virtual tour of her book, "Release: A NICU Fairytale." She'll also be discussing how to process NICU trauma through art.
This is a free event (held online via Zoom), but you must RSVP to participate.
PS: All participants will have the chance to win a free copy of the book!