Family reaches out to help others-even as they prepare for baby's heart surgery February 11 2016


...As Finn’s surgery approached, his mom had an idea. Instead of spending eight hours anxiously waiting for Finn to get out of surgery, she would spend the time having lion loveys distributed for other children in the same hospital.

Hospital social workers will hand out the blankets, along with notes about Finn and the project. And Kelly will ask parents to email her and let her know they’ve received the blankets. She hopes that the emails will come in while she’s waiting for the surgery to end.

“I don’t want to be sitting waiting in fear, I want to be inspired,” she said. “I’d love to know every couple of minutes a social worker is walking in a room with parents who are going through the same thing as me and letting them know they are not alone.”

She expected to have 20 loveys for donation. But so far, more than 100 have been donated, so many that Legler ran out of lion loveys and is now using other designs.

“Every time a donation comes in, I’m crying,” Legler said. “I box everything up to send, I’m crying. But it’s a good cry, it’s a wonderful feeling. It’s a lot of joy and a bit surreal.”

Finn’s mom also had trouble believing the outpouring.

“I got 106 loveys in 24 hours, random strangers were donating 10 at a time,” Kelly said. “I was sitting at a gas station and checked my email, and saw there were more than 100 donations. I thought I was going to have a heart attack.”

She hopes to keep collecting loveys, to donate in the weeks at Charlottesville during Finn’s recovery. Kelly wants to give loveys to other hospital patients and to other families staying at the Ronald McDonald House.