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Volunteer Spotlight: San Francisco Transplant Picnic

On Saturday, August 1st, Project Sunshine San Francisco partnered with the Child Life Department at UCSF Benioff Children´s Hospital San Francisco to bring crafts and other activities to hundreds of children and families at the annual Chris Mudge Pediatric Transplant Picnic. This is an annual picnic for a special group of children and their families — children who have been recipients of pediatric organ transplants at UCSF Benioff Children´s Hospital. In addition to weekly volunteering in San Francisco and Oakland, Project Sunshine San Francisco has been a part of this special picnic for the past five years, providing much–needed support for hundreds of families whose children have undergone transplants at UCSF.

This celebration is an opportunity for the families to build relationships with other families that have gone through similar experiences, or for children to reunite with friends, doctors, and nurses from their long hospital stays. Edwin Icban, Project Sunshine´s Chapter Leader, who has been volunteering with the chapter since it was founded in 2003, explains that, "it creates a bond between families that cannot be broken. It´s an endless friendship. Many families remain close and continue to be in touch. But the yearly picnic that UCSF puts together allows families to reconnect and move forward."

The San Francisco chapter brings creative and fun arts programming to the annual Transplant Picnic for all families and children who attend. Rose Tandeta, Child Life Specialist at
UCSF Benioff Children´s Hospital San Francisco, says, "Project Sunshine provides crafts, activities, and volunteers and brings a great group of individuals with enthusiasm for crafting and kids. We could not put on the picnic without the support of Project Sunshine."

The picnic is a special event for the children and families, but also for the volunteers. "The kids´ infectious laughing, their silent strength, and their fighting spirit remind me to be strong and smile more. We should be thanking them for their strength and passing that positive energy to us," says Edwin about his memorable moments at the picnic. Thanks to Project Sunshine San Francisco for bringing joy and spreading sunshine to so many families at the Transplant Picnic this year and every year!

More Volunteer Stories of Interest

Sports Illustrated model, Damaris Lewis, volunteered for her second year as a Project Sunshine Dance Camp instructor to empower young women through dance.
Emilio Delgado, who has played Luis on Sesame Street for 40 years, brought sunshine to pediatric patients at Mount Sinai´s KidZone as part of Project Sunshine´s Book Club

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