Marc and Nicki Applebee pull their rented, 12-passenger van up to the Boston Children’s Hospital main entrance. The couple, along with family friends and their three bundles of joy — Wyatt, 2, and twins Max and Ivy, 1, travel over five hours from their hometown in Surry, Maine, to deliver several hundred new and donated toys to the hospital.
Their annual holiday visit, called “Christmas for Olive” is a labor of love, and one dedicated to the memory of their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Olive Hope, who passed away in July of 2013, due to complications following her third open-heart surgery.
Nicki and Marc say their visit is also a day of gratitude — an opportunity to visit Dr. Richard Yu and the urological team who repaired Max’s kidney function when he was 6 months old. “We have been donating toys to Boston Children’s in Olive’s memory since December 2013,” says Nicki, whose jacket has a “Christmas for Olive” emblem engraved on it. “We also enjoy visiting with Dr. Yu and the nurses that took care of Max while he was here.” …
Every child has a favorite thing. Some find comfort in the softness of a blanket, while others prefer snuggling a stuffed animal. Whatever the soothing item is, every parent cringes at the thought of misplacing it.
Michelle Arria remembers the day her 18-month-old son Anthony James (AJ) visited Boston Children’s Hospital for testing. It was the day his favorite blanket was lost.
“Testing was about to begin, and I went to get AJ’s blanket, and it was nowhere to be found. He was screaming crying, and I became hysterical,” Michelle recalls.
A staff member stepped into action.
Payton Grassia is all things preschooler. She loves finger painting and outdoor play, has a “big personality,” her mom says, and recently added big sister to her list of credentials.
But beyond her sweet smile and playful charm, this spunky three-and-a-half-year-old is also a fighter.
And her fight began before she was even born.