Chicago (CBS) — If you start your day with a cup of coffee, consider for a moment when a calming cup of coffee seems so far out of reach.
The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, or PICU for short, is the floor of the hospital where kids are the sickest, says Amy Johnston, clinical coordinator at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
“It’s hard to be here,” Carolyn Koppel says. “The best day of coming to the PICU is the day you leave the PICU.”
Koppel’s son Aaron Kobb has a rare, metabolic genetic disorder with only 25 reported cases in the world. He requires 24-hour care.
Through the years, Aaron has undergone more than a dozen procedures.
His health struggles sometimes surface at night with his mom, at times, struggling to stay awake but too worried to go far enough to get a needed cup of caffeine.
“What if you child is in a critical stage and you don’t want to leave the floor?” Koppel said.
That’s when an idea began to percolate. A corporate donation and hospital permission eventually served up Aaron’s Coffee Corner.
The station was up and running in October with hopes of expanding.
“My goal is to continue fundraising and try and get it in every break room here,” Koppel said. “I think it would be great if it was on every floor.”
So far, the family has collected more than $24,000 to keep coffee, pods and cups in supply and keep families in calamities decompressing.
“It’s starting to be part of the tradition and the social ritual of the families,” Johnston said. “It’s a tangible joy you can give somebody.
Doctors said Aaron would not live past age three. Now, at 13, his family wants to make sure his name is grounds for comfort and caring for years to come.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to give back, and it’s a living legacy for Aaron,” Koppel said.