14-year-old Samira’s favorite part of the holidays is visiting her grandparents’ home in the country to eat Mema’s good cooking and opening gifts at her house.
But one year, rather than enjoying her favorite dishes that Mema makes, Samira was in the hospital during the holidays. Hospital stays have become a routine part of Samira and her family’s lives since she was diagnosed with sickle cell disease. Samira spends five to nine days for treatment each time.
As Samira’s symptoms flared up during the holidays, Samira longed to be with her family. Her mother Damita felt the challenges of a single mother, balancing work, parenting and the emotional strain of watching her daughter endure pain.
“Having a child hospitalized at any time can be challenging especially when you're a single parent.” - Damita, Samira’s mom
The hospital was a difficult place to be, but Starlight’s Virtual Reality headset helps make Samira’s stays brighter and warmer. In a digital world, kids like Samira discover a sense of control and empowerment as they venture into unknown lands, outside the confines of their hospital room. Playing on the VR headset gives Samira happiness, making the hospital an easier place for her to be.
Starlight programs offer Samira and her mom the support they need when they are unable to be with family. Starlight programs bring them comfort, care and strength.
Parents need your help this holiday season to support their children’s emotional and mental well-being. Consider giving happiness through a Starlight program today.