Girl Scouts from the Pine-Richland area recently helped make the summer a little brighter for children receiving treatment at the UPMC Mercy Burn Center. Using the proceeds from their annual cookie sale, Brownie Troop 52483 purchased toys and clothes to donate to the unit.
Through their hard work, the Brownies sold more than 1,100 boxes of cookies. It was the girls’ own selfless decision to spend their earnings on the UPMC Mercy Burn Center after a troop member recently donated her birthday presents to the hospital.
Troop leader Shelley Brough said they were happy to use their cookie money for the hospital.
“It’s really important for them to give back to the community, and this was a great opportunity,” she said.
The state-of-art facility treats patients of all ages, but thanks to the Ladies Hospital Aid Society (LHAS) Enchanted Forest play area, the unit is better equipped for treating pediatric patients. Both outpatient and inpatient burn victims are treated at the UPMC Mercy Burn Center, and recovery from burns is often a long, painful process.
According to Melissa Shiring, a child life specialist at UPMC Mercy, the hospital does not receive many pediatric donations, so the troop’s gift was especially helpful.
The Enchanted Forest not only provides entertainment for the patients, but therapy as well, creating a welcome diversion from the pain and trauma associated with burns.
“New toys are great for the patients,” Shiring said. “Toys get worn out and broken very fast, and new ones will provide a great distraction. Toys give the children incentive to get up and be active.”
Patients in the unit are already enjoying the troop’s gift, as several children picked out toys from the girls’ shopping bags. The troop also painted a mural to hang in a patient’s room within the UPMC Mercy Burn Center.
Each troop member received $15 to spend on gifts, and they picked everything out on their own.
“I chose this shirt because it has the word brave on the front,” one girl said, “and the kids here are very brave.”