It should come as no great surprise that we have a soft spot for our little guests. If you look at our cover photo on our Facebook page, you’ll see a picture of Maria and Teresa â€“ The Twins.
Granted, they didn’t come to Richmond to see us. They came to see the fantastic doctors at the VCU/MCV Hospital. The Twins were born conjoined, and stayed with us for a while as they prepared for their eventual separation. Students from VCU made dresses for them to wear before and after their surgery, art students made plaster casts for the doctors to use during planning sessions, and everyone connected to the project seemed to take a personal interest. And it was quite the project, there were hundreds of people involved, and it was quite interesting.
Maria and Teresa are from the Dominican Republic. They came to Richmond through the hard work of World Pediatric Project. WPP actually started here in Richmond, and help find solutions to healing critically ill children in developing nations. Sometimes that means initiating programs in those countries, and sometimes that means sending children to a hospital here in the United States that has the staff and knowledge to help them.
Maria and Teresa are, by the way, not the first young guests of Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond who arrived with passports. We’ve seen children and families from Honduras, Belize, and many other foreign countries. Our only rules for guests is that they must live outside of a 30 mile radius of downtown Richmond and be receiving care from an affiliated hospital.
That often means children.
It is for this reason that an entire floor of Hospitality House has been designed for children. They come to us for chemotherapy, for treatment of birth defects, for emergency care, and more. But they’re still kids, and this floor provides them with a kitchen where family members can whip up homemade meals, with a family room where they can sit around like at home, and a play room furnished with enough toys to invite much-needed play time.
Even if you have cancer or a heart defect – if you’re a child you need your family and you need to play. That’s an unwritten Hospitality House rule, but one that we never, ever, ever break.
We’re fortunate to be located in a town with such amazing medical facilities. We’re practically across the street from the main campus of VCU/MCV, and they are one of at least a dozen world-class hospitals that each provide cutting edge care to patients. These patients are often youngsters. VCU/MCV has even broken ground on The Children’s Pavilion, a huge facility dedicated to providing care for our little ones. They already have Children’s Hospital of Richmond, but this will add a new spot to meet the growing need here in town.
Civic leaders here in Richmond recently debated creating a free-standing Children’s Hospital in our city. They invited leaders from some of the most innovative children’s hospitals in the country. Many argued that we have a distinct need for one in Richmond, and many argued that hospitals like VCU/MCV are already meeting that need.
We’re not sure either way, but we know that there will always be room for their patients here.