April, 2014 – A Few Headlines
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Aaron’s iPad Lending Library
By Krista Martinelli
When Sarah Clein found out that her four-year-old cousin Aaron had cancer, she realized how important Facetime was for staying in touch with him. For the majority of Aaron’s time in the hospital he could not have his cousins and friends visit, but he was able to communicate with his iPad.
“We would show him what we were doing – like playing with Legos or playing in the backyard,” says Sarah. “Aaron would show us his new toys or what was going on in the hospital or sometimes we would just make silly faces at each other.”
Aaron had a tumor on his spine. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ewing’s Sarcoma. It’s a rare disease, and only 250 kids a year are diagnosed with it. “It was a terrible,” says Deborah Clein, Sarah’s mother. Eleven-year-old Sarah is the founder of Aaron’s iPad Lending Library. Their mission is to get iPads into the hands of children in cancer units at local hospitals. Sarah launched the project as a 4th grade community service project and drew up a plan for a school assignment. And it continues to grow.
“Aaron’s iPad was his safe connection to the outside world,” says Deborah. The iPads also allow kids to communicate with each other within the hospital. The children have to remain still for lengthy procedures. Whether it’s listening to music, playing games or Facetiming with loved ones, the iPads brighten their days and keep kids connected.
Today Aaron has been cancer-free for fifteen months. He has to return to the hospital for scans every three months and will have scans for the next five years. The whole family is involved in the iPad project – Aaron’s parents, Beth and Josh knew when Aaron was in treatment that they wanted to give back so they started TeamAaron.org “It is a wonderful opportunity for our entire family to pay it forward.”
So far they have delivered 17 iPads to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, 10 iPads to Palm Beach Children’s Hospital and 17 iPads to Holtz Children’s Hospital. “The money that we collect goes to giving out iPads,” says Deborah.
They are happy to deliver new iPads, used iPads, Kindle Fires, Nooks or any electronic device along those lines that will keep cancer patients connected. “We will happily take any device that would entertain children,” says Deborah.
Visit Aaron’s iPad Lending Library’s website (http://teamaaron.org/) to donate and find out more. Donations are tax deductible, as it’s a 501c3 organization. Aaron is now in first grade. His smile can light up a room. He loves to wear costumes, play with his brother and donate toys and give back to hospitals.
Sarah is a fifth grader at Binks Forest Elementary school and just returned from her safety patrol trip to Washington, DC. She also loves to read, loves science and enjoys doing science experiments at home. She was just notified that she has won the Jefferson Award from WPTV for her work on Aaron’s iPads. Her brothers Daniel (15) and Jonathan (7) are happy to help with the iPad project as well.
Aaron’s family is grateful for Otterbox and Trident cases for donating to their cause. The Village of Wellington recently donated 8 older excessed iPads. Other donations have come from Best Buy of Wellington. Little Smiles, the Palm Beach Sheriff’s office and many individual donations. One local family gave an iPad instead of doing their Christmas gift exchange.
Sarah made a video about Aaron’s struggle and about the iPad Lending Library. You can visit this link to see the video.
The momentum keeps going, and their story is scheduled to air on the Today Show on Tuesday, March 25th. You can also like their Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/AaronsLendingLibrary