It started as a simple request to send a Little Victor a Valentine wish.
But the response was more than anyone could have imagined.
By Monday morning, more than 93,600 Valentines were submitted to University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Well-wishers represented more than 25 countries, including Guam, Peru, Japan, Australia, Russia, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Taiwan and Afghanistan among others.
Senders could choose from several themes of cards online, including dinosaurs, robots, football or tractors. Due to the massive response, the submission window ended early on Monday.
“We are always hearing from people looking for ways to bring smiles to the kids at Mott Children’s Hospital, especially around the holidays,” says Rebecca Priest, of Michigan Medicine’s Department of Communication.
“People sometimes send things we can’t deliver because of health concerns or cards with messages that may not be appropriate for every child depending on their condition. The Valentines to Victors initiative was a way to make it easy for people to show they care.
“The response has been tremendous,” Priest says. “We are touched that thousands of people from across the globe are thinking of our Little Victors. It means a lot to the kids and their families.”
Cards will be distributed through the week to every child at the hospital and at all U-M clinics in Ann Arbor, Brighton, Lansing and Grand Rapids. Children will be surprised with cards delivered on their meal trays, during therapy, in playrooms, the valet station and at appointments.
“You just feel the love and support,” says Belinda Kirklen, whose 10-year-old daughter DaNae received one of the special deliveries at the hospital Monday. “It’s hard to be here and it’s so good to know people are thinking of you.”