The “Brody’s Elves” program began Christmas of 2011, our first Christmas without Brody. We were struggling with his absence–particularly hard to take during the holidays. As a way to honor Brody we decided to adopt Doernbecher families from the pediatric oncology unit where Brody was treated; families who’s lives have been turned upside down by the words, “your child has cancer, your child has an immune deficiency, or, your child needs a life saving bone marrow transplant”. Toys and games do not make these diagnoses disappear but if it brings a little holiday cheer, and lightens the burden, then it’s something worth doing. What we love about this program is how we connect with these families in a way that reminds them we understand they’re enduring something unthinkable, and we are here to ease the burden of the holidays while their child fights for his or her little life against the harsh realities of a life threatening diagnosis.
In 2021, it was time to try something different. In years past, we would have our patient families fill out wish lists and then we would shop, wrap and deliver a complete Christmas. Toys, clothes, shoes, gift cards for gas and groceries, it was a massive undertaking but incredibly rewarding knowing so much love and holiday cheer was being spread in Brody’s memory. After 10 years of doing this, we decided to shake things up a bit and help as many families as we could who are struggling financially during the holidays under the weight and stress of complex medical diagnoses. With guidance from our partners at Doernbecher, we felt the best way to reach as many children as possible was to focus our holiday fundraising efforts on gift cards. As it turns out, this idea was very successful. Instead of helping only 3 or 4 families, we were able to help over 50 families thanks in no small part to the generosity of our Brody’s Elves participants! The dedicated team of social workers at Doernbecher were able to identify patients with the greatest need and assist in delivering the gift cards directly to them.
It’s also important to highlight that children who are diagnosed too close to the holidays typically won’t have access to assistance because all available resources have already been allocated to other families in need. For families that fall into this category, the Brody’s Elves gift card program will allow them to shop for their children, use the cards as gifts for their children, buy groceries and so forth.
With the success of the program last year, we’ve decided to do the Brody’s Elves gift card program for the 2022 holiday season! The team at Doernbecher has helped us narrow down gift cards they feel have the widest reach. Simply follow the link below to select the gift cards you’d like to purchase or click the donate button if you’d prefer to make a 100% tax deductible donation and leave the purchasing to us! You may also join the Brody’s Elves mailing list to receive our email updates. – Happy Holidays from Brody’s Elves