Jack Barker is a 12-year-old with an engaging smile and an easy manner. He also happens to be a patient in the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD) who saw a need here at the hospital and decided to take care of it. That makes Jack pretty amazing.
Diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia, Jack became a patient at Children’s in September. While in the waiting and exam rooms, the sixth-grader and his mother, Giora, noticed that some of the patients, including himself, got very cold.
When a former teacher gave Jack a Snuggie, an idea was born: Jack thought he’d give Snuggies to other hematology-oncology patients who might be cold. In case you don’t know, a Snuggie is a sort of big, long blanket with sleeves that the manufacturer acknowledges has become a pop culture phenomenon.
The original funding for Jack’s Snuggie campaign came from the sale of red rubber bracelets with his initials on them in his hometown of Coppell, Texas. As word about Jack’s idea spread, however, people began donating Snuggies. So far, more than 120 Snuggies have been donated to the Barker family to distribute. The Snuggie company, All-Star Product Group, has said it will help keep the program going by partnering with the family.
Recently, you could spot Snuggies everywhere in the cancer center’s outpatient medication infusion room. Patients who often spend a good part of their day hooked to IVs looked warm and cozy as they rested wrapped up in the bright colored Snuggies, and Jack was passing out even more blankets. On a day that was cold and snowy, it seemed a particularly warm gesture from such a bright young man.
You can read Jack’s own blog to find out more about him.