Today I was a Renaissance damsel, a Colonial lady and a 1920s flapper. Well, for a few minutes anyway.
My husband and I visited Costume Avenue to select our outfits for the 4th annual Chelsea Hicks Foundation Masquerade Ball. This will be our first year in costume for the October 12 event, as we’re taking the leap from our typical attire. As we modeled our various choices (Brad in George Washington bloomers and socks is a memory I won’t soon forget), we laughed and forgot about our everyday responsibilities and worries.
You see, that is the power of dress-up; it has the ability to take you to another place and time. And that’s why I believe so strongly in the service we provide with Chelsea Hicks Foundation’s “Chelsea’s Closet” program. When Chelsea’s Closet visits Doernbecher and Randall Children’s hospitals with our armoire of new costumes, accessories, swords, and crowns, we give seriously ill kids a chance to pretend, giggle and forget the scary medical issues they are facing.
For many of these children, a visit from Chelsea’s Closet is the motivation to leave their rooms for the first time in days. Our volunteers help them select a new costume (which they keep), dress-up, parade through the ward, and finish off with crafts, snacks and goodie bags.
I have seen firsthand how this reminder of childhood provides hope and healing in ways that traditional medicine cannot. Consider the balding preschool girl who dressed as a mermaid and preened in the mirror for 30 minutes before leading the parade with her voice loud in song. Or the nine-year-old who’d been wheelchair-bound for five days, but walked the final steps of the parade in her princess costume. The stories of these amazing children are countless: the teenage girl who could not lift her head from her pillow but smiled every time we delivered her specially-requested “Hello Kitty” items, and the young man whose five visiting siblings also selected costumes from the Closet to join him in the activities.
A visit from Chelsea’s Closet not only benefits these seriously ill kids, the impact is far reaching: I have seen it on the faces of worried parents, hard-working medical staff, and our own volunteers.
Our Masquerade Ball on October 12 at The Governor Hotel in downtown Portland is a way to honor and remember these special kids, and a way for us to raise the funds needed to sustain and grow our program. No costume required – come as you are – just come! For more information, please visit our website at www.chelseahicksfoundation.org.
P.S. Costume Avenue in Beaverton is offering a 10% discount on rentals through October 13. Just mention CHF!
CHF Board of Directors
The Chelsea Hicks Foundation and CHELSEA’S CLOSET were founded in 2009 in honor of our “little monkey.” CHELSEA’S CLOSET is a rolling cart that makes monthly visits to Pacific Northwest area children’s hospitals including Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, OR and Randall Children’s Hospital At Legacy Emanuel also in Portland with costumes and accessories for children fighting childhood cancer or other serious childhood illnesses.