Emily Bond and her 4-year-old son, Lincoln, held a stuffed bunny while they watched a LifeLink memorial Zoom call Nov. 14.
Throughout the memorial, Lincoln pressed the bunny to hear his daddy’s heartbeat, as the memorial honored Derek Bond for donating his organs.
The bunny was given to the family during Derek’s hospitalization at AU Health, after doctors realized Derek would not wake from a coma that resulted from a car accident. It is one of the ways the Butterfly Cart helps provide comfort to families during end-of-life care.
Emily Bond, a human resources coordinator at Augusta University Health, said she and Lincoln have snuggled the bunny and listened to Derek’s heartbeat many, many times over the year and a half since Derek died in a car accident.
“I had no idea that anything like that existed, and it’s really just the sweetest thing that we have,” she said.
The Butterfly Cart is a literal cart that is pulled to the bedside. It is filled with useful items for patients and families to use during this difficult time, including journals, Bibles, devotionals, puzzle books, snacks, hygiene items, and comfort supplies like lotions, makeup wipes, lip balm, radios, etc.
Keepsake items like heartbeat bears, canvas for capturing handprints or footprints and locks of hair are also provided, along with a keepsake box for families to take items home with them.
Giving Tuesday on Nov. 29 is an opportunity for the community to help provide these comfort items.
Currently, AU Health has three carts: one in oncology, one in Neuroscience ICU, and one in Surgical/Shock Trauma ICU. Two more are needed for the Medical ICU and the Cardiovascular ICU. According to statistics from Patient and Family Centered Care, 33 deaths occurred in the Medical ICU in September alone.
Each cart costs about $1,500 to stock. Donations will help stock the carts, as well as be used to purchase more heartbeat bears (or bunnies) and keepsake boxes.
Donations collected during Giving Tuesday will also be used to support the Open Paws Food Pantry, which provides emergency food relief for students experiencing food insecurity. The fall term brought 222 students to the food pantry, significantly more than in terms past.
For more information, call 706-721-4001 or go to the Giving Tuesday webpage. A “Giving” button will be active on Nov. 29 only.