Pediatric patients at The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital (BMSCH) at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) received an outpouring of love and support from several members of the community this week. Founder of the Hugs for Brady Foundation Sherrie Wells, along with Kedir Webbley, general manager of the East Brunswick Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us, and fourth grader Evan Gilmurray from Bridgewater’s Hamilton Primary School have been collecting donations and recently delivered them to the hospital.
The Hugs for Brady Foundation has been supporting pediatric oncology patients and families at BMSCH since Sherrie and Michael Wells’ son Brady was treated here. Brady was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and bravely battled the disease for 10 months before he passed away at 23 months old in 2010. To honor their son’s memory, the Wells established Hugs for Brady to support programs, research, activities and toy donations for children and families faced with a similar battle.
In addition to gifts donated by the Hugs for Brady Foundation, Sherrie Wells also delivered a variety of blankets that were hand-made by nine-year-old Kwentin Foster and volunteer Pat Terhune, as well as cupcakes from local bakery “Sweets by Lovey” and gift bags from South Brunswick elementary school students.
The Wells were joined by Webbley, who brought cartloads of new toys donated by Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us. “Hugs for Brady offers so much time, dedication, commitment and love to finding a cure for cancer. They not only fund research, but also help families in need, supply hospitals with toys, and do so much more!” Webbley said. “To support an amazing foundation like Hugs for Brady makes me feel as though I am helping to make a difference in someone’s life.”
In addition to the items donated by Hugs for Brady and Toys“R”Us, Gilmurray brought over 700 boxes of kids band-aids that he and his classmates collected as part of a service learning activity for the school year. He learned that kids fighting cancer face many blood tests and treatments and that hospitals often use plain band-aids. So he got the idea to collect fun band-aids with characters, bright colors and silly designs instead to help bring a smile to the kids’ faces.
Michael Wargo, director of Corporate & Foundation Relations for the RWJ University Hospital Foundation, accepted the gifts on behalf of BMSCH. “We are so pleased to accept these gifts from the Hugs for Brady Foundation, Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us, and Evan. It is wonderful to see the community come together to support pediatric cancer patients and families through some very difficult times,” he said. “Thank you for encouraging their spirits and bolstering their strength.”