Amy McGlinchy has a trick up her sleeve when it comes to caring for children at the Gig Harbor urgent care facility where she works.
Legos, the pediatric nurse said. It’s all about the Legos.
“When we can talk about Legos, they don’t have to worry about the other stuff,” she said.
That inspired McGlinchy to use part of her vast collection to support child health care in a different way this holiday season. She organized the decoration of a Lego tree for the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Festival of Trees.
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About 60 of the lavishly decorated trees will be auctioned off Friday to support the hospital and the families it serves. On Saturday and Sunday, visitors can stroll among the trees during the festival at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center in Tacoma.
McGlinchy said she especially likes the opportunity to donate toward uncompensated care, to help families in need. Part of the Ladies Night event at the festival Thursday (Dec. 4) collects funds for that.
She used to work in the emergency room at the hospital and has decorated Lego trees before to support the cause, she said. This year’s tree has a sort of transportation theme, including a Lego replica of the Tacoma Narrows bridges.
While pediatric nursing is challenging, she said, it’s rewarding to see how quickly kids can get better.
She seems to like the kids quite a bit, too.
“I can give them an Otter Pop and a sticker, and we’re friends for the rest of our lives,” she said about relating with her patients.
Giving youngsters in the hospital a healthy way to stay entertained is the goal of another tree at this year‘s festival.
Its Dr. Seuss theme comes with 1,000 books the purchaser will be asked to donate to the hospital so that each patient can have a book of his or her own. The wagon to distribute the books will have the name of the donor inscribed.
“We just love kids getting lost in their imagination in a book,” said Lori Tanner, director of the MultiCare Center for Healthy Living, which decorated the tree.
Not everyone had a personal connection to their themes.
Darlene Anderson said the Seattle Seahawks tree she helped organize made sense for Mary Bridge. The faith of the Super Bowl-winning team and fans goes hand in hand with the hospital, she said.
“We thought that goes right along with Mary Bridge, as far as hope goes,” Anderson said.
But it’s funny their team was the one doing it.
“We’re not sports people at all,” she said with a laugh.
Friend Traci Messer said she was the diehard fan among the decorators.
“They thought it was a good idea,” she said. “I told them: ‘You better do it.’”
Fife-based BCE Engineers, where Anderson’s husband works, sponsored the tree, as did the Seahawks organization itself.
“As a company, BCE is definitely a Seahawks fan,” chimed in Levi Waggoner, who does its marketing.
Games play on the screen in the conference room, he said.
The company has connections to the hospital as well. It helped work on family housing, called the Tree House, where loved ones can stay while a child is at the hospital.
Anderson and crew presented the pitch for the tree to the Seahawks on the phone to get the team’s support. It’s probably the only time “Seattle Seahawks” will appear on Anderson’s caller ID. She took a picture, she said.
The resulting tree is a Seahawks fan’s dream.
There’s a signed jersey from cornerback Richard Sherman and a football with the autographs of quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch.
And a club suite and sideline passes for the game of the tree owner’s choosing.
“All of us Seahawks fans have to admit, if we were able to purchase it, we would,” Messer said.