img 7848 e1514219776236 Ex Patient Helps Kids Cope With Hospitalization Around The Holidays

Rachel Boudeman and her family collect gifts and bandaids to help sick kids cope during the holidays. (Lisa Fielding/WBBM Newsradio)

CHICAGO (WBBM Newsradio) — Rachel Boudeman knows what it’s like to be sick at Christmas.

“When I was 2 ½ , I had surgery here and I remember getting toys and Band Aids for Christmas,” said Boudeman, now 12 years old. “It helped me get through it.”

Rachel was diagnosed with a benign tumor 10-years ago and had surgery over Christmas Eve.

“About four years ago, she decided she wanted to give back,” said Adri Boudeman, Rachel’s mother.

“We decided to have a holiday party and we asked our friends to bring Band-Aids and then people brought toys, too, and it just kept on going from there.

img 7844 e1514219767865 Ex Patient Helps Kids Cope With Hospitalization Around The Holidays

Ex-Patient Helps Kids Cope With Hospitalization Around The Holidays (WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

This year, we had a party for 100 people, moms and girls. We call it the Band-Aid Bash. It’s super.”

Now they visit Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital every year.

“It was, it’s very hard to come back,” the mother says, choking up. “It was a scary time for us. She was so lucky. Hers was benign, and she was only in the hospital for three days. We were very lucky because it was only three days because there are plenty of kids here who are here for a long time.”

img 7849 Ex Patient Helps Kids Cope With Hospitalization Around The Holidays

A collection of the donated gifts for children at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital (Lisa Fielding/WBBM)

“We gather a wish list, then they are able to choose the toys. We wrap them, and their parents and siblings give them to the patients,” says Allie Jones, Child Life Specialist, Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital.

The Band-Aids will resupply the Child Life Band-Aid Binder, a big scrapbook that young patients are invited to flip through to choose their own Band-Aid after a procedure.

family Ex Patient Helps Kids Cope With Hospitalization Around The Holidays

The Boudeman family (Lisa Fielding/WBBM)

“We have a Band-Aid book. Kids van scroll through this book and choose what Band Aid they want. This helps after procedures. Now we have 100 more boxes,” Jones says.

“It feels good. It’s a good thing to do because kids love toys and Band-Aids,” Rachel says, laughing.

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