Finn’s Wheels of Hope Turning Childhood Toy Into Time-Saving Tool for Families
He’ll carry your things. He’ll wheel you along. You can go up and down the halls while singing a song. He’ll be there for you, to help you cope, because he’s Finn’s Wheels of Hope.
When Taunton's Sharon Paradis recognized another family's struggle during a trip to the Tomorrow Fund Clinic at Hasbro Children's Hospital this past Monday, she knew right away what needed to happen.
For most of the past year, the Paradis family have traveled to Hasbro for their son Finn’s treatments. He was diagnosed with anaplastic ependymoma and spent time at Spaulding Rehabilitation in Boston after having his first brain surgery. Spaulding offered wagons for families, and so the Paradis family used a wagon to transport all the things they needed to and from the car to help make Finn’s in-patient room feel most like home. The wagon proved to be a huge time-saver, and made the process much more manageable.
Once the family started visiting Hasbro for treatments, they continued to use their foldable wagon to help carry the items they needed during the visit. This past Monday, that very small utility item jumpstarted an idea to get every family who needed it a foldable wagon.
Paradis said it all happened very quickly.
“On Monday of this week I'm watching mom carry all these bags, her kid is in a wheelchair, I assumed they were getting admitted and I said, ‘She needs a wagon,'" she said. "Maybe it's a thing people don't know about or that they can't financially afford at that time. Moms are stubborn, we don’t want help, but this is what I knew we could do to help.”
Paradis immediately posted her idea to Facebook.
“Walking into clinic today I saw a family that was going to have to be admitted. I saw them with all their bags child in a wheelchair prepared for however long they would have to stay at the hospital. It dawned on me – that family (mom and child) shouldn’t have to struggle carrying all of that (staff helps but it’s still a struggle) multiple trips, leaving your child with a nurse in an already stressful situation, waiting to get everything until they fall asleep. Luckily, I found out sooner than later this fold up wagon would be a lifesaver when it came to hospital stays, especially with Covid and only one parent is allowed. This means I would carry Finn and wheel all his stuff in ALONE. Once we were settled into our room it worked as another spot for Finn to sit and play rather than being in bed for days on end. So I’m looking to raise enough money to buy 1 or 30 radio flyer wagons to donate to The Tomorrow Fund for families whose children will have extended stays due to their cancer treatments.”
Within days of posting her idea to Facebook, 30 fold-up wagons costing roughly $70 apiece had been ordered by generous family, friends and even strangers looking to help. Finn’s Wheels of Hope was officially in motion.
Finn’s Wheels of Hope is planning on delivering the wagons to the Tomorrow Fund next week but hopes to continue the fundraising effort throughout the year.
“Kids won't’ stop being diagnosed, so we should continue to bring awareness to it," Paradis said.