(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 2, 2014)
Virgina Saxon was touched when she heard about a local man’s quest to provide stuffed animals to children in the hospital. That’s why she and fellow Ferndale Seniors had a massive cookie sale during the Downtown Ferndale Holiday Ice Festival to raise money for the cause.
Jason Peach, founder of Bedside Healers, created a simple twist to the traditional stuffed animal by adding a Velcro strap on the back so it could be hooked on to the railing of a hospital bed, the pole of an IV hanger, or strapped on a child’s wrist so it would always be in the same place when they needed a bit of comfort.
“I thought it was a great idea,” Saxon said. “It felt good knowing we were raising money for something that was simple but would make people feel better.”
The Seniors used Dino’s Lounge as a “base camp” for the cookie sales. Jeannie Davis, Joyce Littlejohn, Virginia Saxon, Carolyn House, Don Decent, and Sandy Weeks donated their time cooking and selling. Ferndale City Councilperson Greg Pawlica joined in as well, accompanying Davis and Saxon up and down Woodward to peddle the cookies to hungry festival-goers.
They were able to raise $650, which they presented to Peach during a presentation at a Blues Festival show at Dino’s. The gift pays for 65 stuffed animals, and Bedside Healers is chipping in extra to make it an even 100.
“This could not have happened without the generosity of the seniors who baked their little grey headed hearts out,” said Davis, who is President of the Ferndale Seniors. “Nor could it have happened without Dean Bach who gave us a section of his restaurant to use. His staff were all wonderfully helpful and the Seniors are aware that we could not have accomplished this without him.”
The cookie sale is an annual tradition that grew out of a larger cookie contest they won at a previous Ice Festival. While that contest did not continue, the Seniors had so much fun they added it to their list of fun activities through the year.
Bedside Healers grew out of a need that Peach saw firsthand. “My father became very sick in 2001 and ended up spending six months in the Hospital. I remember on more than one occasion when my father’s stuffed animal that my step-mother had given him had either been moved off his bed by a nurse or it had fallen on to the floor. I noticed my father was very distraught when his stuffed animal was missing. If my father was reacting this way about his animal, I could only imagine that all the other patients were having the same problem. I wanted my dad to be able to have the animal on his bed rail so the only option was to come up with a solution. This is how Bedside Healers was born,” he explained in a profile when he was named one of Oakland County’s Elite 40 Under 40 for 2013. Bedside Healers was also named 2012 New Business of the Year by the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce.
For more information on the Ferndale Seniors, visit http://ferndalemi.gov/Services/Recreation/Seniors.
For more on Bedside Healers, like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BedsideHealers.