Every now and again, there comes a moment when something becomes so clear it compels us to act. For Madelaine Trewin, that moment of clarity came in the waiting room of Mayo Clinic's Children's Center in Rochester shortly after she was diagnosed with amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome. "I was having a particularly rough day that day, and then I saw somebody wheeling a cart of books around the waiting room and handing them out to the other patients," Madelaine tells us. To Madelaine, it was more than just a simple cart of books. "Knowing that somebody at Mayo had taken the time to put a program like that together for patients made my entire day better," she says. "I knew right then and there it was a program I wanted to contribute to myself."
When she returned home, Madelaine broached that very subject with one of her teachers at New London (Wisconsin) High School. "I suggested we put together a book drive for Mayo's Pediatric Unit during the month of February, and he thought it was a great idea," she says. "So we put together some fliers, set book donation boxes in all of the English rooms, and then waited for the end of February to come."
When it did, the boxes were overflowing with more than 300 books — much to Madelaine's surprise. "When I started the book drive, I didn't know if people would donate to something they didn't have a personal connection to," she says. "But knowing that they did, and that it's hopefully going to help make a difference in the lives of other patients at Mayo … it just warms my heart. I still can't believe it."
Becky Hynes, coordinator for Mayo Clinic's Volunteer Programs, says Madelaine's books, which were delivered to Mayo by her mom and sister last week, will go a long way toward doing just that — making a difference. "It's the generosity of individuals like Madelaine that makes it possible for Mayo Clinic Volunteer Programs to maintain a service like this," Hynes says. "And based on the response from Madelaine, it's clear the books can leave a lasting impression."
Madelaine tells us that's precisely why she started her book drive. "I hope these new books will give the other patients on Mayo 16 a ray of hope and help them realize that despite what they might be feeling, there are other people in the world who are looking out for them and who want to help them," she says. "And I hope that somehow gives them the courage they need to keep moving forward in their fight."
If you have "gently used" children's books that you'd like to donate, contact Hynes at firstname.lastname@example.org or (507) 255-9912. Afterward, be sure to tell us about it by leaving a comment on the In the Loop blog, where you'll find tools to share this story with others.