Ornaments, lights, Christmas trees: That wasn't enough for Le Bonheur Children's Hospital's Art Development team. They wanted to bring some excitement to the Christmas decorations at the hospital this year.
"We wanted to do something special, we wanted something dynamic, we wanted it to change all the time so that people just had this energy during Christmastime," says Linda Hill, Director of Art Development.
Le Bonheur brought in Elf on the Shelf, placing one on every floor of the children's hospital.
It lit up a light inside one of Le Bonheur's quietest patients on the Neuroscience floor, five-year-old Kylie Robertson.
The first time Child Life Specialist Jessica Kellough met Kylie, she says, "She was sitting up on the couch and would not look at me, would not have anything to do with me, when I asked her questions she just kept saying ‘No.'"
Kylie has been in the hospital 30 times in her five years; she's had six surgeries. Her mom, Casey Robertson says, "She was ‘failure to thrive' when she got here because nothing was motivating her to heal."
When Kellough mentioned "Elfis," the seventh floor Elf on the Shelf, Kylie made a 180 towards her and Le Bonheur's staff. Kylie has her own Elf on the Shelf at home, so knowing an elf would be around to let Santa know about her good behavior, lifted her spirits.
Kylie even received a letter from the "Chief Elf" saying, "Elfis on the seventh floor at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital has informed Santa that you have been extra brave."
Now the five-year-old is up and about the hospital, looking for what new spot Elfis is hiding in.
"That's the singular mission of everybody at Le Bonheur. We plan, we strive, we hope, we can transform the hospital experience on every level, so when you see the result is what you had hoped for…. Very moving," says Hill.
If you wish to donate to Le Bonheur, including in their Child Life department, you can visit the Children's Miracle Hospital's Give Miracles website and select the "TN – Le Bonheur Children's Hospital" dropdown tab.