The following recap comes courtesy of our resident elf volunteer, Jonathan Asfour. Jonathan has been a HOPE volunteer since its inception 4 years ago and has volunteered every year for our annual holiday party for children with cancer and blood disorders. Every year, he dresses up as an elf for our party, greets each child as they come in, takes silly pictures with them in the photo booth, and assists Santa in giving out gifts to them. This is why he does it.
Every single year I cannot wait for the HOPE holiday party. I have never been part of an organization in which I could see the fruits of my labor so quickly. It is one thing to help children in need, but another to help sick ones at a hospital that have no way out. I have come to learn that they look forward to these parties and it immediately, ironically enough, gives them hope.
Without fail, every year I get a few reminders as to why I signed up for these events in the first place. We had different stations set up for the kids to create arts and crafts, where they are expected to create something for themselves or their families. After taking pictures with the children (I am always the elf at the party), one of the little girls, Catherine, handed me a card she had made. It was a "thank you" card, with graphics and all. A few years back we heard a story about how one of the children was filled with hope and joy after our party. These events physically heal the kids for a few hours. Another child came to the party visibly sick. He had his IV attached and said he did not feel well and left. A few hours later, he came back and could not wait to hang out with us.
I could go on for days about all the instances that have happened, but the point is very clear. The HOPE Association gives hope to these kids. It is a day in which these sick children are not treated as sick children, but as normal kids having fun.