Sunrise Softball Cricket Club members during their visit to Jamaica Hospital.

Visit To Jamaica And Flushing Hospitals
By Morris Seecharan
Greatness is often measured by kindness – a principle that motivates the Sunrise Softball Cricket Club members over the years. The club, sponsored by Kaieteur Liberty Restaurant and Bar, Hansa Building Engineering Services and Anil Construction Company, once again demonstrated its dedication and commitment to the club’s annual toy drive. It was another successful effort, which continues to grow stronger and stronger.

The generosity of the Sunrise family and friends created smiles that filled the pediatric floor and pediatric emergency room at Flushing and Jamaica Hospitals, bringing smiles, joy, comfort and cheer to the young patients. The variety of toys, games, books, and art and crafts supplies were enjoyed by all ages, and greatly reduced the children’s anxiety about being hospitalized, as well as giving them back a sense of normalcy. The Sunrise outreach touched not only the patients but also their families, friends and the staffs at the two hospitals. Being in the hospital as a patient or not, is always stressful, even more so during the holidays for kids and their families, so special visits such the Sunrise visit makes it easier for the hospitalized kids, their families, and staff while they were away from their homes.

The Sunrise family first visited the pediatric unit at Flushing Hospital during the holidays, led by Rashmi Momaya CCLS who was courteous enough to take the lead on the visit. The first stop was the playroom as the Sunrise family left games, movies, books, and art and craft supplies for the children. Rashmi shared a list of patients who were critically ill and was not allowed visitors as the Sunrise family left selected toys for them to be delivered later by the Nurses. As Rashmi lead the Sunrise family around to the pediatric floor, the Sunrise kids handed out several toys with grace and smiles, wishing all the kids a happy holiday and encouraging them to get well swiftly.

The gratitude and thankfulness from the patients and their families was fulfilling. One particular patient, a girl about 14, loved the gift given to her. When asked, what would be her best holiday present, she replied, “The best gift for the holiday was to be with her family.”  Another very moving moment during the visit was with an autistic boy about 11 years old. Although, he couldn’t’t communicate verbally, his body language spoke more than words. His facial expression told us how much he loved the visit, along with his toys. His parents were both so thankful for the time we spent with their son, and couldn’t’t stop thanking the Sunrise family members.

The parents of the new born babies were elated for the toddler toys given to them, and at the same time it was sad to see newborns ill at such a tender age. Visiting the kids at the pediatric emergency unit was very rewarding, since that was first place of entry for those children. Those kids there were experiencing pain and discomfort as a result of their illnesses, and most importantly the anxiety associated with hospitalization.

Sharing toys to each of these patients made a big difference in taking their minds away from their illnesses. Some of the kids had their siblings in the waiting room and they were presented gifts as well to help them ease the moment of waiting with their families at the hospital.  As the Sunrise family members met with the staff at the nurse’s station, they received words of thanks and congratulations from the staff of the Flushing Hospital. Rashmi Momaya who the Sunrise family has known over the years, was very instrumental in making the visit a valuable experience, especially for the children. Rashmi‘s dedication in making such visits possible must be commended, and the Sunrise members, families and friends thank her for arranging such a wonderful visit.

Sunrise Softball Cricket Club family poses with workers of Flushing Hospital during their visit.

Sunrise Softball CC’s second toy drive visit was to the Jamaica Hospital pediatric center after the holiday. The visit gave some of the Sunrise family a second opportunity, since some were unable to make the first visit. Most importantly, visiting the hospitalized kids after the holiday was a fitting, gesture since the kids were deprived of the opportunity to spend the holidays with their loved ones.

Shanequa Howe, CCLS of the Jamaica Hospital pediatric unit was very accommodating and helpful during the visit. Since it was after the holidays, most of the children and their families were very low key and lacking the holiday atmosphere and spirit. One striking visit was with a boy around 10 years and his mother, who was sitting with him. When you walked into the room the stare you got from both the boy and his mother was that of despair.

However, once the Sunrise kid handed the young boy a toy, he exhaled with happiness. At the same time his mother’s face was filled with a smile. Bringing such happiness to both mother and son was a positive reinforcement to the Sunrise kids and their families, reassuring them that their dedication, and sacrifices in making the time to visit the patients and their families is a lifelong fulfilling and rewarding experience. During the visit there’s was another couple that seemed as though they had not slept for days; watching their young boy hooked up to several medical instruments.

Again the few moments the Sunrise families spent with the couple made them forget about the  sleepless nights and gave them the comfort needed to ease their pain. As the spirited Sunrise kids went from room to room visiting the many patients and handing them appropriate gifts, one could see the emotional trail left behind, which was that of joy and happiness. Again, as it was for those kids in isolation, it was also a sense of heartfelt sadness for the Sunrise family during the visit. However, the attending nurses handed the patients their gifts, and they knew that someone outside of their rooms cared. Parents of some of the kids came out of the isolation rooms and thanked the Sunrise families.

At the end of another successful visit, Ms. Shaneequa Howe was thanked for helping to make the Sunrise visit to the Jamaica Hospital a heartwarming one.

Hospitalization can be a confusing and stressful experience for children, adolescents, and their families. Sunrise profoundly acknowledged the issue, and continues to play an important role in helping children and families cope with hospitalization through their visits and donations. They found that when children are visited and given a piece of joy through a toy, they see themselves more reassured and comfortable. Speaking with some Sunrise kids during and after the visits, they conveyed that they felt happy, and was grateful for the visits. Most importantly they expressed that the visits made them feel privileged in giving them the opportunity to make a difference in their community, for which they are thankful.

The toy drive success over the years by Sunrise takes strategic planning, hard work and extreme dedicated efforts by the members, families and friends. It doesn’t’t matter if it’s cold, snowing, or raining, the dedicated Sunrise family shows up at the hospital ready to bring joy, and they must be commended and congratulated. In addition, for making this another successful toy drive, the Sunrise members are grateful to their families, friends and sponsors for their continued support and dedication.

At the end, what is consider true generosity is that you give your all, and yet you always feel as if it costs you nothing.