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How Methodist Hospice is helping children leave their mark on the lives they leave behind

“Most people don’t think about hospice and kids but we’re here to make it less scary,” said Kayla White, Certified Child-life Specialist with Methodist Alliance.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Losing a child is never easy. But Methodist Hospice Residence is trying to help parents by making a memory that can last a lifetime.

“Most people don’t think about hospice and kids but we’re here to make it less scary,” said Kayla White, Certified Child-life Specialist with Methodist Alliance.

“QoLa Kids exist to go outside the four walls of a hospital setting. We actually go into the patient’s home. We offer specialize nursing care, social work care, child life specialist, and chaplain - needs to those that are facing the end of life,” said Taylor Dabbs, Clinical Director of QoLa Kids and Methodist Hospice Residence. “We offer this care for palliative kids that are facing life-limiting illnesses and also for hospice kids that are facing the last six months of their life.”

While it’s something parents hope they never have to consider, for those that do, the staff provides comfort.

“What we do is bring the healthcare services into the homes of patients that are service by both Saint Jude and Le Bonheur. We exist to be the hands and feet, where we are clinicians that go outside the four walls of the hospital setting,” said Dabbs.

They try to make those last moments last a lifetime for families.

“I think we think a lot about what would you do if you had six months left to live? So now, what if an eight-year-old had six months left to live, we’re going to fill it with birthday parties and the coolest cakes you’ve ever seen. And let’s make jewelry that mom can wear when you pass away,” said White.

And that’s what they do – make very special items for parents to hold on to and remember.

“We are able to leave with families something tangible that is a reminder of the life of the child that they lost,” said Dabbs.

“I got to looking into a charm. They are a little silver piece of jewelry with your baby or child’s fingerprint in them. I called a friend of mine to see if the Chris Hope Foundation could help fund that opportunity for us,” said White.

“She talked to me about it and before she even finished, I had a yes for her. Everybody knows it’s tough to lose a loved one, but when you talk about your child, to provide a gift like this where they can have something close to their heart forever, that is something we don’t need funding for this. That is something I will fund myself,” said Chris Hope, Founder of the Chris Hope Foundation.

“All we have to do is get your fingerprint. So, it’s like touching Play-Doh,” said White. “Families can pick if they want a birthstone on their charm. We can put a stamp on the back. It can either be like initials or a nickname or a rainbow.”

The charms provide something tangible for loved ones.

“Partnering with Chris Hope has been phenomenal,” said Dabbs.

“The emotions that goes on with dealing with your child, dealing with their life-threatening illness is challenging enough. And to know that you’re about to lose your child and all of the expenses that comes with it can be very overbearing,” said Hope. “We go beyond paying bills and all those things. We provide birthday parties, special gifts. We highlight a kid every month at Le Bonheur. And they’re our kid of the month. We give them $50 go to the gift store and buy whatever they want. So, it’s like a mini shopping spree.”

“There are a lot of families who lose homes and lose cars or struggle with light bills or car notes, things of those sorts, because they have to be there with their child,” said Hope. “That’s what we’re here for. We’re here to help them stay afloat. To have one less thing to worry about it.”

Learn more about the foundation at chrishopefoundation.org.

For other giving opportunities at Methodist, go to Methodisthealth.org/give.

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