Helping Hands of Dayton provides travel-sized necessities for families of children in intensive care units in Miami Valley hospitals in order to help them through the first 12 hours of an overnight stay.
In a worst-case scenario, the last thing a parent will think about is the toothbrush.
That's what was going through Leslie Cayot's mind the day that she, her husband and her child arrived at Dayton Children's Hospital.
And through her own experience, Cayot has since founded a non-profit that aims to make families a little more comfortable during what could well be the worst day of their life: a medical emergency involving a child.
"There is no way a parent would leave that ICU," Cayot said. "Even if you might not have the things to take care of yourself, you aren't going anywhere."
Since 2007, Helping Hands of Dayton has been providing care kits to families whose children are admitted to critical care units in area hospitals, filled with everything from toiletries, tissues and get-well cards to a small gift card for families to grab something to eat.
Now, the organization gives out almost 1,500 of them a year at Dayton Children's, Miami Valley Hospital and Kettering Medical Center. And Cayot has no plans to slow down.
It's a small but extremely critical gesture, she says, for those families, who find themselves unprepared for an emergency and aren't going anywhere with a child in urgent care.
"If you're taking care of yourself, then you're taking care of your child," Cayot said. "When they wake up, they aren't going to want hospital staff, they're going to want mom and dad, or grandma and grandpa."
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