More Than 95,000 Valentines from Around the World Reach Children’s Hospital

February 14, 2017 11:00 AM

Well-wishers from as far as Guam, Australia and Turkey helped spread Valentine’s Day cheer to sick kids at U-M.

It started as a simple request to send a Little Victor a valentine wish.

But the response was more than anyone could have imagined.

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By Monday morning, Feb. 13, more than 95,000 valentines were submitted to University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Senders represented more than 25 countries, including Guam, Peru, Japan, Australia, Russia, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Taiwan and Afghanistan, among others.

“We are always hearing from people looking for ways to bring smiles to the kids at Mott Children’s Hospital, especially around the holidays,” says Rebecca Priest, of Michigan Medicine’s department of communication.

“People sometimes send things we can’t deliver because of health concerns or cards with messages that may not be appropriate for every child depending on their condition. The Valentines to Victors initiative was a way to make it easy for people to show they care.

“The response has been tremendous. We are touched that thousands of people from across the globe are thinking of our Little Victors. It means a lot to the kids and their families,” Priest says.

Cards will be distributed throughout Valentine’s Day week to children at the hospital and at clinics in Ann Arbor, Canton, Chelsea, Lansing and Grand Rapids. Children will be surprised with cards delivered on their meal trays, during therapy, in playrooms, the valet station and appointments.

Senders could choose from several themes of cards, including dinosaurs, robots, football or tractors. Because of the massive response, the cutoff for submissions ended before the holiday.

“You just feel the love and support,” says Belinda Kirklen, whose 10-year-old daughter DaNae is at Mott and received a card delivery Monday afternoon. “It can be hard to be here, and it’s so good to know people are thinking of you.”