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Special toy brings comfort to sick kids

May 6, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
You'd never think about what a child goes through in a hospital unless your there with them. The needles, tubes and strange people can be quite intimidating. You might be surprised to learn how a small stuffed animal can help. One local woman is on a mission to give comfort to as many children as possible, but she needs your help to do it. Gina Scott is a 3-year-old who has spent the last two years at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. She has leukemia so bandages and catheters are all she knows.

When nurses gave her a new friend named "Owie Bow Wowie," Gina knew exactly what to do.

"There are no strings to Owie. You give because you want to and you get nothing in return," said Gina Woods, Owie's creator.

Woods designed it just for sick children. Nurses say pediatric patients can instantly relate.

"It's just so scary for them. They don't understand why they have to get poked and all these different medicines," said Dee Imai, a nurse at Children's Hospital.

Woods came up with the idea while being a hospital patient herself 20 years ago. She met an 8-year-old who looked sad and lonely. Woods wrapped a bandage around a torn stuffed animal and gave it to her.

"I told her, 'It's your Owie Bow Wowie,'" said Woods. "And at that moment I fell in love. These are great things to do for children."

Gina would like to see every new child admitted to Children's Hospital receive an Owie. Each one costs $35. So the goal would be to get a thousand people to donate $35 every month.

"I have not been able to get a hundred donors," said Woods. "So because it is a non-profit I've been covering it, and I just can't do it anymore."

If Woods can't get the donors she needs her charity will have to end. But even though Owie's mission may be cut short, knowing it has helped children like Gina has made it worthwhile.

Each stuffed animal comes with a blanket and story book. The Owie Bow Wowie Program only has enough money to keep going until May 13. As of now the group has about 20 donors who contribute $35 a month. Woods needs at least 35 donors to keep her program alive.


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