Jean Up: get BC kids out of hospital and back into their jeans

BC Children’s Hospital takes 30th annual fundraiser all month long

Sofia is excited to wear her jeans this May. The 11-year-old has spent far too much time in hospital gowns in her young life, undergoing treatment at BC Children’s Hospital for an intestinal abnormality.

This May, she’s asking you to join her and Jean Up for BC’s children!

Born with a painful condition where the intestines did not rotate properly during development, Sofia was diagnosed at age 6, when she underwent her first of three surgeries to correct her anatomy. By 2018, Sofia was in and out of BC Children’s every two weeks, including her third surgery to relieve and correct nine intestinal obstructions.

Throughout her experience at BC Children’s, Child and Youth Therapeutic Services have played an important role, providing supports through art activities, therapeutic clown visits, pet therapy, and special events at the hospital. The team of Certified Child Life Specialists have followed Sofia throughout her journey, developing a ‘Coping Plan’ indicating the best ways to calm and comfort Sofia during specific types of procedures, such as letting Sofia watch and doing a count down when inserting an IV.

Certified Child Life Specialist Claire Brown, supports Sofia on her frequent visits. For example, when it’s time to remove Sofia’s PICC line – a catheter in her arm used to deliver nutrition when she can’t eat on her own – Claire helps keep Sofia calm by practicing a breathing technique with her.

Claire also shares what to expect in procedures using medical play – demonstrating the procedure using dolls so Sofia understands what will be happening and is more prepared.

“Sofia is the type of person who needs to know everything that’s going on, even if it makes her upset,” says Meehae, Sofia’s mother. “Claire is so patient in explaining the procedures over and over until Sofia can process it in her own mind. Kids don’t get a choice about having these scary procedures, and this really helps them feel more in control.”

Will you Jean Up for BC’s children?

This May, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation is on a mission to make jeans a symbol of something bigger –helping kids like Sofia get out of their hospital gowns and back into their jeans.

For three decades, workplaces and staff around the province have donned their favourite denims for the Foundation’s annual “Jeans Day” fundraiser.

This year, as the vital BC event celebrates 30 years, it was time to do something bigger. This May, you’re encouraged to “Jean Up” and join the month-long movement!

As the only children’s hospital in the province, tens of thousands of kids count on care they can’t get anywhere else.

Ensuring every child receives the best health care possible is an enormous job, and COVID-19 is making it even more challenging.

So while we’ve all spent more time in sweatpants than jeans lately, by Jeaning Up this May, you can make a difference to health care providers and kids across BC.

“We never expected to be a part of the hospital community when Sofia was born,” Meehae says. After 11 years and countless hospital stays, we are forever grateful to everyone at BC Children’s for working so hard to give her a normal, happy life. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Jean Up today!

This May, Jean Up to show you care, safely from home.

Businesses can also bring employees together in a common cause – even while physical distancing and working remotely at home. Set up your company fundraising page and collect donations by sharing your company’s donation link.

To get involved, donate online at JeanUp.ca, and then pick a day, week or even the entire month of May to wear your favourite denim. Better yet? Snap and post a selfie in your jeans on social media to show your support of BC’s kids. Don’t forget to tag @bcchf and include #JeanUp. And for those on Instagram, search “Jean Up” in the GIF area to add your virtual sticker to your selfie!

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