Texas kids turn tragedy into triumph for ICU
The first day they spent waiting to see if their father, Andrew Schachtel, would survive a stroke, the two children, Adyn, 12, and Adysn, 9, barely noticed their surroundings. That changed, however, after doctors told the children and their mother Vanessa things would be OK.
“It was bare white with these really uncomfortable chairs,” Adyn told the AHA. “There wasn’t anything for kids to do and the only TV in the room was always playing really dark TV news shows.”
Their father was in ICU for a week, after which Adyn and Adysn didn’t forget about their experience or drop the idea of making improvements. With their parents' help, the two contacted friends and family members for support and set up a donation page on the youcaring.com website. On the page the children explained their story, what had happened to their father, and how they planned to turn their personal tragedy into an opportunity to do good.
“Starting this fundraiser made me feel like I did something big,” Adyn told the AHA. “Sometimes people think kids can’t do something big.”
The new children’s portion of the ICU waiting room, which will be named for the Schachtel family, was designed with the input of the children and features a small table, children’s books, iPads, bean bag chairs, a white board with markers, and a TV that plays only kid-approved programs. The children presented their drawings and ideas during a volunteer banquet award at the hospital, where they also donated the $3,000 they had raised for the completion of the room.
Their father, now in recovery and working with an occupational therapist, told the AHA he was overwhelmed with what his children had accomplished.
“It warmed my heart,” he said, “It was bigger than me; they did it to help everyone else.”
Organizations in this story
American Heart Association 7272 Greenville Avenue Dallas, TX - 75231