Children's Hospital Invites Community to 'Light Up' the Night in Holiday Tribute to Sick Kids

SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation

SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation
SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation

For chronically ill children, and the families who love them, the holidays can be especially hard. Which is why hundreds of strangers showed up at the SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, last week, to show the hospital's smallest patients that they're not alone this holiday season. And they did it with one small, but meaningful act of kindness.

  • The annual event is called "Light Up Glennon," which brings members of the St. Louis community together for a good cause.

    SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation
    SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation

    On December 3, hospital employees, former patients, and family members showed up to spread some holiday cheer by shining their flashlights into the patients' windows to let them know they care -- and watching as the tiny patients shine their own flashlights back in acknowledgement.

    “It was so wonderful to see the community come out and support the kids in the hospital that are not able to be at their schools, they’re not able to go to their Christmas pageant, they’re not at the mall shopping with their families," said Sandy Koller, President, SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation. "They’re here at the hospital getting better and healing."

    The event has become so popular within the community, that even fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances show up to shine their lights into the hospital windows.

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  • After the lights went out, the fun wasn't over -- participants stuck around to sing Christmas carols to the patients, too.

    SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation
    SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation

    "[The carolers] came out of their warm houses to stand on the lawn in front of the hospital just to tell the kids ‘we’re here for you and we’re rooting you on and we know you’re going to get better," Koller continued. "'[It's as if they're saying] We’ll see you soon.’”

  • Parents inside the hospital were also touched by the public outpouring of love, largely from people they've never even met before.

    Mindy Hayden, whose child is a patient at Glennon, said it was a moment she won't forget.

    "To me, it just brought joy to the kids and to see people participating in the community is really cool," she said in a press release for the event.

    "It’s really awesome to see all these people come together. With my son being in here, I think it shows how much people care about what goes in their lives. It’s awesome," agreed dad Gary Hayden.

    The hospital held another Light Up Glennon event on December 17 and will hold a third on December 23, the hospital's Facebook page states. If you're in the area and interested, just be sure to show up by 8 p.m.

    Just "don't forget your flashlights!" the Facebook post states.

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