Project Night Lights creates magical distraction for patients

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The people who take part in Project Night Lights outside Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital each month may not be able to see the little faces peering through the hospital windows, but experiencing the pure happiness happening inside a patient room proves the love and support is appreciated.

Silent Observer partnered with the Child Life Program at the hospital over the summer to remind families the community is thinking of them. With the help of local law enforcement, businesses and community members, Project Night Lights has quickly become a tradition the second Wednesday of each month. 

24 Hour News 8 had the opportunity to experience the magic along Michigan Street in Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile from a patient room this month. 

“To be honest, this is a terrible situation,” Sarobi Walsh said of her 2-year-old, Kinsleigh, recovering from open heart surgery at the hospital. “It’s nothing that anybody wants to be in. Anything that anyone can do to make it a little more enjoyable is really wonderful.”

She has a congenital heart defect and doctors decided putting off surgery was no longer an option.

“We have been very, very blessed that she didn’t have to have any open-heart surgeries until now. She had a [atrial septal defect] that needed to be closed among other defects,” Sarobi Walsh explained.

It was the first time the two experienced Project Night Lights. Kinsleigh was carefully lifted out of her bed by her mom and positioned in a chair next to the window. A little more than 48 hours earlier Kinsleigh was on the operating table. But for those 10 minutes, she was just a kid taking in the sights and sounds down below. 

“Look!” Kinsleigh explained over and over as her mom knelt next to her. 

Surgeons at the children’s hospital fixed her heart, but perhaps the selfless gesture by complete strangers will help her recovery go even quicker.

Watch the video above to see Kinsleigh’s full reaction.

The Child Life Program is one of several hospital programs that would be supported by a grant the hospital is currently in the running for. The Vote For Miracles campaign is open for daily voting through Tuesday, Dec. 18. 

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