Jen Rubino has made it her mission to help kids in hospitals.
“When kids are missing out on so much and they’re feeling different and isolated from their peers, it can be very difficult,” the high school senior says, and she would know. In the past six years, Rubino’s had 26 surgeries.
Growing up, Rubino was a competitive gymnast and an active and healthy girl. All that changed when she started experiencing joint pains. Doctors diagnosed her with a rare connective tissue disorder and over the past seven years, she’s had multiple surgeries to repair damaged bones or tissue.
During a particularly rough hospital stay, she received a handmade card that brightened her day.
“… I was fortunate enough to have such great people around me when I was going through these things and I saw so many kids that didn’t have that,” she says. “I just wanted to be able to just do something to help them.”
Rubino started making cards with friends after school and at sleepovers to deliver to area hospitals but the interest grew and in 2011, Cards for Hospitalized Kids was officially born. Since then, Rubino estimates they’ve shipped over 600,000 cards to hospitals across the country.
Child life specialist Jessica Merar says the cards do more than spread smiles, they can actually help patients recover.
“We believe a strong and healthy mind with make a strong, healthy body,” she says. “Once you have a kid acting like a kid again … they’re going to start healing physically as well and the recovery will be much, much quicker.”
For more information on Cards for Hospitalized Kids or to learn how to get involved, please visit their website: http://www.cardsforhospitalizedkids.com/.