Hospital Receives Generous Donation From Spirit of Children for the Child Life Program

Thursday, February 10, 2022
Hospital Receives Generous Donation From Spirit of Children for the Child Life Program

For the last four years, Spirit of Children has been a major supporter of the Auxiliary to South Texas Health System, which raises money through hospital gift shops and various fundraising projects. Each year, Spirit of Children raises funds locally through Spirit Halloween stores in the RGV and generously donates a portion of these proceeds to the Auxiliary to STHS.

This year, $51,399 was raised — bringing the four-year total to $138,058. On Thursday, February 10, 2022, South Texas Health System Children’s was joined by Spirit of Children representatives for a special check presentation of this year’s funds.

Child Life Department at STHS Children's

STHS Children's does more than just provide quality, compassionate medical care to the children in the community. Through its Child Life Department, STHS Children’s also helps reduce the stress and anxiety associated with hospitalization and illness for pediatric patients and their families through a variety of activities.

In addition to helping patients understand the medical procedures they will undergo through developmentally appropriate language and teaching aids, staff in the Child Life Department also provide educational and recreational activities, including arts and crafts sessions that patients can participate in via kid-friendly tablets that are part of STHS Children’s virtual playroom. When fearful or stressed, nurses and staff help provide calming, sensory stimulation through the hospital’s multi-sensory rover.

Learn more about the Child Life Department at STHS Children's →

New Healing Courtyard

Despite the ongoing pandemic, last fall Spirit Halloween managed to raise the largest amount of funds in the program’s four-year partnership with the Auxiliary and STHS Children’s. The funds will help establish a new healing courtyard for patients and their families to enjoy a break from the hospital room.

“We’re always thinking about ways to improve and provide a more comfortable experience for the wonderful children in our care,” said Lance Ames, CEO of STHS Children’s and STHS Edinburg. “While we make sure to offer games and activities every day in their rooms, there’s nothing quite like getting to run around outside, touch and see the green grass and just enjoy some fresh air.

“Spirit of Children has been an amazing partner to our hospital, and we are so thankful for their generosity over the years. The joy and excitement we witness in the children when we give them a new toy or put on a special activity really fuels us and we're so excited to soon be able to offer something even more.”

Following the check presentation, attendees took a moment to remember the life of Angela Purcell, the Spirit of Halloween representative who helped forge the partnership. Her family, who now serves on the Spirit foundation, received a special plaque in her honor.

“It’s amazing to just think about how many patients have benefited from STHS Children’s Child Life Services,” said Greg Purcell, Franchise Operator for South Texas Spirit, Spirit of Children. “This new courtyard is just the beginning of more great things to come and I look forward to honoring my wife’s legacy by continuing to serve in this capacity.”

The courtyard will feature a life-size checkerboard, hopscotch court, sitting areas and more and is set to break ground in March 2022.

About Auxiliary to South Texas Health System

The Auxiliary to South Texas Health System is comprised of men and women who donate their time assisting in the various departments throughout the facilities that make up South Texas Health System. The non-profit organization also raises money for educational scholarships to students within the Rio Grande Valley, continuing education assistance to STHS employees, and donations for other not-for-profit organizations within the community. The Auxiliary is able to give generous financial donations each year through money raised from the gift shop and various fundraising projects.

About Spirit of Children

At the heart of Spirit Halloween is Spirit of Children, a program which focuses on making hospitals less scary for kids and their families. Since its inception in 2007, Spirit of Children has brought smiles, laughter and a much-needed escape to thousands of pediatric patients in 147 hospitals across the United States and Canada. One hundred percent of the money collected each year is given directly to the Child Life Departments at local partner hospitals, such as South Texas Health System Children’s. Spirit of Children raised over $12 million in 2020, bringing its total collections to more than $77 million since the program’s inception. Spirit encourages customers to help make a difference in a child's life by donating at their local Spirit Halloween in season, donating online anytime at or spreading awareness via Facebook and Instagram by using #SpiritofChildren and #MoreCowbell in their photos.