LAKEWOOD RANCH -- For her seventh birthday, Abbey Burwood asked for books. Lots of books that she could donate to the soon-to-open pediatric care unit at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center.
Thursday, Abbey, accompanied by her mother, Stephanie Burwood, and older sister, Cayla, a Nolan Middle School student, delivered 30 books, an art set, game, and a fuzzy stuffed animal to staff at the medical center.
"That is very kind of you. That is very generous," said a beaming Tanya Prete, child life specialist, in accepting the gifts.
Gifts like these help a make a child's stay in the hospital easier, Prete said, and asked if Abbey, a seventh-grader at Willis Elementary School, had ever been in the hospital.
"Yes," Abbey responded.
Indeed she has, said her mom.
It was Jan. 1, 2006, when Abbey was born at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center.
Because of the holidays, the family moved the birthday party up this year, and were able to deliver the books before the new year arrived.
Afterward, Linda Antes, chief nursing officer, gave
the Burwoods a tour of one the new rooms for child patients. With a big grin, Abbey was seated in one of the room's reclining chairs.
Someone handed her a book, "Planet Earth," and the little girl began to read aloud, needing only occasional help for an unfamiliar word, like "disaster."
Asked what else the pediatric unit might need, Prete responded, "child-friendly DVDs."
Stephanie Burwood said she wanted to check with Abbey's teacher at Willis Elementary. "We want to help keep this going," Stephanie Burwood said.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 941-745-7021 or tweet @jajones1