A group of young Minnesota girls were having a birthday sleep over, but it quickly turned into an arts and crafts slumber party with a purpose. That purpose was to spread love, care, and compassion to those who found themselves in Gundersen Health System facilities this Valentine's Day.
Kaitlyn and Alexis are 5 and 6 years old, respectively, and they are the masterminds behind this thought. The Mother supervising the slumber party broke out the arts and crafts for all the girls to get creative with decorate Valentine's Day cards. Alexis and Kaitlyn added, "We just had scissors and stuff at the table so we do whatever we want. Like glitter glue, and scissors."
It didn't stop there though. These cards were also decked out with heart gems, stickers, and most importantly, love. The home-made cards and even Valentine's Day video greeting were shown and distributed to patients this afternoon. The tradition of brightening ill patients on Valentine's Day has grown tremendously over the years. Sue La Crosse, the Healing Arts Coordinator at Gundersen told us "We started actually giving out Valentine's about 7 years ago, but it was just very quiet and we just made sure that we touched the patients that really needed it here. Last year we opened it up to our employees, and yeah, we had close to two thousand and said 'You know what? Let's open it up to all the communities!' It has just blossomed."
Including Alexis and Kaitlyn's cards, the total card count has climbed to just over 2,400 this year. The goal of Alexis and Kaitlyn's cards they say, "Cause we wanted to give sick patients letters and to make them feel better."
News 19 was at Gundersen to see the delivery of some of the cards and also to see the impact love and kindness can have first hand. Mother Cassie Meech was at the hospital this Valentine's Day with her ill daughter Prya. It was a difficult day up until Prya was shown the video greeting created by Alexis, Kaitlyn, and her friends. Cassie Meech said, "For other people to extend, I guess, that love, you know, to someone in the hospital, especially my baby. It means so much to me and that's the first even half smile I've seen from her today and I've been trying really hard to get her to smile."
This Valentine's Day we can all take a page out of, or maybe a card out of Alexis and Kaitlyn's acts of kindness, love, and compassion on this day of caring for others.