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Daily Inspiration: Meet Ya-elle Halevi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ya-elle Halevi.

Ya-elle, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Thousands of children are battling cancer in our hospitals every day. On a cruel and shocking night in early 2010, my young son became one of those kids, and he spent the next 18 months fighting a courageous and difficult battle beating cancer. He is an amazing son, brother, and friend, and is our inspiration for Sheets from Home.

With each round of chemo, immunotherapy, or transplant, our son would spend many, many nights confined to his hospital bed. We brought lots of love, we brought courage and hope, and we even brought toys; these were all important weapons in our fight. We also brought sheets from home, and this did unexpected and amazing things.

On the first night of his chemo at the hospital, we ripped off the white patient hospital sheets and replaced them with sheets from home. He always had a fun and colorful bed with his friends SpongeBob, Spiderman, and Darth Vader.

We thought this was just a small gesture but over the course of treatments, a nurse, another kid, or a Mom would stand outside our hospital room and marvel at how the sheets brought life to the room. We were amazed at the positive impact and the smiles. And while it did not make the pain go away, his hospital bed which was his new home could feel more like his real home.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
So why do I keep talking about sheets?

There are many great “tools” that help support young cancer patients. We all know that books, toys, games, and PJs do some great things and help cheer young patients’ spirits. But when the kids get “hit” with the chemo/treatments all they want (or can do) is to go to bed and rest until it’s all done (trust me, I’ve seen it way too many times). That white hospital bed becomes “home” for them – sometimes it’s just for a few days, but more often than not, it can be weeks at a time.

That hospital bed doesn’t have to be foreign. It doesn’t have to be white and boring. It CAN be cheerful, and PERSONAL. By using colorful, themed linen that same bed can feel more like HOME again. It won’t make cancer go away but it can put a smile on the kids’ faces, ease their pain and make them a little more comfortable when they need it most.

What does it mean to #makesheethappen?

Most child life specialists who work with our program like to give the first sheets set with the child’s initial diagnosis (have the bed set up with the sheets and surprise them when they come back from a procedure/port insert). They would hand out the second set on a special occasion (birthday/holiday) or if it’s just a ‘down’ day and the kid could use a smile. The sheets are a gift for the families to keep, and we always encourage them to bring them back to future admissions (making their room feel more like home!). We serve infants to 18 years old and try to provide the hospitals with a range of patterns so that everyone can find something they like.

As a side note, we will very rarely post pictures of young patients. We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words (and our donors would love to see where the sheets go). With that said, we also know that fighting cancer can be a private place and not everyone is comfortable sharing.

Will you #giveasheet with us?

Sheets From Home is a 100% volunteer organization. This means we have NO salaries and very minimal overhead. We rely heavily on your donations and ongoing support. September is the only time of year that we actually ASK OUR COMMUNITY TO #GIVEASHEET and support our cause.

What’s this got to do with you!? Please consider acting on one of the following:

– Share and help build awareness of our cause. Yes, it’s that simple!
– Donate directly to our website (sheetsfromhome.org)
– Start a local #sheetsraiser, collecting new, colorful bedsheets for kids fighting cancer in your community

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I experienced firsthand the fight against cancer. I battled melanoma and cervical cancers between 2006 and 2010 before her son was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. I and my son are now cancer-free and continue to be monitored on a regular basis. I have translated my experiences as a Mom, survivor, and caregiver into Sheets From Home.

As our tagline goes, my mission is to brighten a child’s face one hospital stay at a time. As co-founder and Director, I lead the marketing and community outreach efforts. I am also responsible for ongoing social media communications, tactical development, sheet-raising campaigns, and building connections with pediatric hospital personnel around the country.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
I learn new things every day from the amazing people around me – that includes my kids. Simply talking and sharing ideas, thoughts, and concerns with different circles in my life gives me a better perspective and understanding of where I want to go. It helps me position myself with the best possible outcome.

Pricing:

  • Every $30 donated covers one sheet set
  • $1,200 covers one pediatric oncology unit
  • Our goal for our September Sheets-raiser is $12,000

Contact Info:

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