Sophie Neu dreams big. The 9-year-old came home from school one day and proclaimed, "Mom, I've decided I want to cure cancer!" And while young Sophie's declaration may have been grand, it wasn't out of character for a child who'd been taking mental notes of the work her mother, Lori Neu, does as a nurse manager inside the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Mayo Clinic Children's Center in Rochester. "Sophie has a very big heart," Lori tells us. "She knows I work with sick kids so she just thought, 'I'll help by curing cancer.'"
Lori had to find a way to delicately redirect her compassionate daughter's ambition. "I told her how it's nice for our nurses to have something to give to our patients that's comforting to them, like a blanket, while they're in the hospital," Lori tells us. "And she said, 'I can do that! How much money do I need to raise?'"
Lori encouraged her to take things one step at a time. "I said, 'Let's start by going to a store and looking at some blankets to figure out what size and material you might want,'" Lori says. "So we did, and she decided she wanted blankets for babies, toddlers and young kids, and so I said, 'OK, this is your project and your responsibility.'"
A short time later, Sophie presented a sign that detailed her plans, including what it would cost to make the blankets. She wanted her mom to post it on Facebook. Lori was hesitant, but Sophie didn't relent. "After I posted her sign on Facebook, she got some money from family members," Lori tells us. "From that point on, whenever her friends would come over to our house, they'd put on music or a book on tape, and sit around making blankets together," Lori says.
Before long, Sophie and her friends had made 25 blankets for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Mayo.
As a mother and a nurse, Lori couldn't be more proud, or more grateful. "Honestly, I couldn't believe she did it — especially that many," she says. "I thought she'd maybe make two or three, but for her and her friends to have made 25 blankets and to have followed through with it from beginning to end is impressive. She was so proud when she was able to bring them to Mayo Clinic, and our patients and their families have all been so appreciative."
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