AVIAN shares love, laughter and smiles with sick children and their families

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January 27, 2014

When diagnosed with a rare and potentially life-threatening disease that requires frequent trips to the hospital, there is no place like home. Or is there?

Twenty minutes north of the nation’s capital, The Children’s Inn at the National Institute of Health, (NIH) in Bethesda, Md., offers a comforting “place like home” for sick children and their families.

During the past three months, AVIAN LLC team members planned, coordinated and fundraised for a winter charity event to benefit The Inn on Jan. 20.

“The one objective for this year’s charity event was to bring smiles to children in need,” said Vera Nicole Vera, AVIAN’s team lead for The Children’s Inn event. “The NIH Children’s Inn gave the perfect opportunity to meet this objective and support the mission of AVIAN’s Science and Technology division – to support breakthrough research and development.”

The Children’s Inn is the world’s leading biomedical research center. Children receive treatment for illnesses such as cancer, heart, lung, blood, bone and growth disorders, mental illnesses, and HIV infection. The Inn is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.

Food donated by Domino’s Pizza, Paisanos and Georgetown Cupcakes was served to residents by 12 AVIAN volunteers during a Family Dinner event. Family dinners at The Inn provide an opportunity for families to eat together and ease the stress of adjusting to a new environment. Twenty new families arrived at The Inn on the day AVIAN attended.

Prior to dinner, children colored superhero themed drawings with volunteers.

“This event touched the lives of children and their families who are dealing with really difficult medical issues,” said Elise Smith, AVIAN’s charity event coordinator. “We needed as much support as possible to help make the biggest impact. Thanks to enormous support from our employees and their families, we were able to support the Inn on many levels.”

In addition to the family dinner, AVIAN employees raised $2,000 to benefit The Inn, provided 10 shopping bags full of essential supplies on their wish list and participated in The Inn’s mailbox program, Thoughtful Treasures.

Upon arrival at The Inn, each child is given their own mailbox to receive not only mail, but also special gifts. During the child’s stay, a special treasure is placed in the child’s mailbox each day. AVIAN created superhero themed mailbox gifts with encouraging and uplifting messages, markers and other goodies that will be used as future Thoughtful Treasures.

“It was memorable experience filled with love, laughter, and endless smiles,” Vera said. “Our mission that day was to make the children smile. In return, they engraved an everlasting smile in our hearts. Thank you to all who supported this event.”

About The Inn

The Children’s Inn at NIH is a private, nonprofit residence for families and their children who are participating in pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center. The Inn enhances the opportunities for groundbreaking medical discoveries by providing a free “place like home” that reduces the burdens of illness through a supportive environment including therapeutic, educational and recreational programming.

For additional information:
Tara N. Strickland
Director of Communications