Valley Parents: Former patients raise funds for CHaD

  • Maurgan McGrath (Courtesy photograph) Courtesy photograph

Valley Parents Correspondent
Published: 5/20/2021 12:34:20 PM
Modified: 5/20/2021 12:34:17 PM

LEBANON — A hospital can be a scary place for a child, and even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic, when visitors have been limited.

In order to make a stay at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth more comfortable and enjoyable, two young people took it upon themselves to donate toys, books, games and pajamas.For both Maurgan McGrath, 17, and Levi Goodan, 9, their connections to the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth led them to donate gifts to kids who found themselves in the hospital this past year.

Beginning in November, McGrath, a senior at Hopkinton (N.H.) High School, started “Maurgan’s Virtual Pajama Party” to collect books, games and pajamas for children at CHaD. Donors are able to either pick out the specific item to purchase and donate, or they are able to give money.

“I think helping people out, especially younger kids, trying to get them to be not as scared when they’re in the hospital, making sure that they have something to take their mind off of what they’re going through and knowing that I’m helping someone in some way is important,” McGrath said.

McGrath was born with a prenatal condition called malrotation, where parts of a child’s intestine are in the wrong location. In 2003, four days after birth, she had abdominal surgery at CHaD to correct the malrotation. When she was two, she had to go back to CHaD to work on scar tissue complications from the original surgery.

Since the start of her pajama party, McGrath has raised more than $1,000. Donations are still welcome.

After going to the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth for damage to his ankle cartilage in 2019, Goodan began donating his seventh birthday and Christmas presents. He has continued to donate his birthday and Christmas presents this past year during the pandemic.

“At the hospital on holidays, people don’t really get anything or get to do anything special, so I thought it would be nice for them to look forward to a little thing,” Goodan said.

Goodan has a bicuspid aortic valve in his heart, causing his ascending aorta to enlarge. Because of his condition, he has yearly checkups at the Boston Children’s Hospital.

His experiences at hospitals have increased his empathy toward patients going through similar circumstances.

“I know what it feels like to be in the hospital frequently and it’s not really fun,” Goodan said.

Apart from his own hospital visits, Goodan shared that his grandfather’s battle against polio in the fall of 1954 was another reason why donating his presents was important to him in the past year. Goodan’s grandfather spent months in the hospital, with the first six weeks in isolation. When he was allowed visitors, his parents brought him presents from classmates, cheering him up. Goodan wanted to replicate that for others and honor his grandfather’s positive spirit.

“He was a really, really kind person,” Goodan said.

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