Belvidere boy on mission to bring joy to hospitalized children

Belvidere boy on mission to bring joy to hospitalized children

By Geri Nikolai

Posted Jul 19, 2012 @ 01:33 PM
 
 
Jordan King is a child who likes just about everything.Ask him his favorite color and he’ll name six or seven of them. His favorite subject in school? “Math, science and reading.”

There is one thing he doesn’t like, however, and that’s being in the hospital. Jordan has had four stays for heart surgery at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn. The first three — when he was 11 days old, four months old, and 23 months old — he doesn’t remember.

The fourth surgery, last summer when he was 5, left an impression.

“Being in the hospital is no fun at all,” he says. Then, with a big grin, he adds, “But the gift bag was fun.”

The gift bag contained small toys, art and craft projects that could be enjoyed from a hospital bed. Jordan thought it was easily the best thing that happened to him during his hospital stay.

He was so impressed that the Belvidere 6-year-old asked his parents, Tammy and Mark King, if he could do something like that for other kids in the hospital. That started young Jordan’s mission to put a little joy into the lives of children who also fight serious illnesses at Hope.

So far, Jordan has put together more than 100 gift bags for young patients at Hope. He uses some of the money people have given him for his birthday, and his mom and dad supply the rest. Last summer, a combination lemonade stand/garage sale brought in $150.

Jordan and his mom like to buy the gift bag items at Target, the one near the hospital. There, you park underground and take an escalator up to the store. That’s the high point of his shopping excursions, says Jordan.

For the bags for babies, Jordan and his mom buy a book, toy and socks. For older kids, the bags contain 10 or so items — small toys like a top and art and craft sets.

Each bag also contains a huge pair of sunglasses or a crazy hat.

That, says Jordan, “is to make the doctor laugh.“

Jordan and his parents have stayed at a Ronald McDonald House near Hope Hospital, a facility they describe as the best place you can be, next to home. They decided to help Ronald McDonald houses, too.

Since Ronald McDonald suggests people help by collecting the metal tabs on cans of soda, Jordan started saving them and spread the word among his relatives and people at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Belvidere. They responded by collecting enough tabs to fill a 33-gallon trash can. It weighs more than 110 pounds and, Mark estimates, contains 154,000 tabs. It will be sold and the money given to Ronald McDonald.Jordan King is a child who likes just about everything.

Ask him his favorite color and he’ll name six or seven of them. His favorite subject in school? “Math, science and reading.”

There is one thing he doesn’t like, however, and that’s being in the hospital. Jordan has had four stays for heart surgery at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn. The first three — when he was 11 days old, four months old, and 23 months old — he doesn’t remember.

The fourth surgery, last summer when he was 5, left an impression.

“Being in the hospital is no fun at all,” he says. Then, with a big grin, he adds, “But the gift bag was fun.”

The gift bag contained small toys, art and craft projects that could be enjoyed from a hospital bed. Jordan thought it was easily the best thing that happened to him during his hospital stay.

He was so impressed that the Belvidere 6-year-old asked his parents, Tammy and Mark King, if he could do something like that for other kids in the hospital. That started young Jordan’s mission to put a little joy into the lives of children who also fight serious illnesses at Hope.

So far, Jordan has put together more than 100 gift bags for young patients at Hope. He uses some of the money people have given him for his birthday, and his mom and dad supply the rest. Last summer, a combination lemonade stand/garage sale brought in $150.

Jordan and his mom like to buy the gift bag items at Target, the one near the hospital. There, you park underground and take an escalator up to the store. That’s the high point of his shopping excursions, says Jordan.

For the bags for babies, Jordan and his mom buy a book, toy and socks. For older kids, the bags contain 10 or so items — small toys like a top and art and craft sets.

Each bag also contains a huge pair of sunglasses or a crazy hat.

That, says Jordan, “is to make the doctor laugh.“

Jordan and his parents have stayed at a Ronald McDonald House near Hope Hospital, a facility they describe as the best place you can be, next to home. They decided to help Ronald McDonald houses, too.

Since Ronald McDonald suggests people help by collecting the metal tabs on cans of soda, Jordan started saving them and spread the word among his relatives and people at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Belvidere. They responded by collecting enough tabs to fill a 33-gallon trash can. It weighs more than 110 pounds and, Mark estimates, contains 154,000 tabs. It will be sold and the money given to Ronald McDonald. Jordan King is a child who likes just about everything.

Ask him his favorite color and he’ll name six or seven of them. His favorite subject in school? “Math, science and reading.”

There is one thing he doesn’t like, however, and that’s being in the hospital. Jordan has had four stays for heart surgery at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn. The first three — when he was 11 days old, four months old, and 23 months old — he doesn’t remember.

The fourth surgery, last summer when he was 5, left an impression.

“Being in the hospital is no fun at all,” he says. Then, with a big grin, he adds, “But the gift bag was fun.”

The gift bag contained small toys, art and craft projects that could be enjoyed from a hospital bed. Jordan thought it was easily the best thing that happened to him during his hospital stay.

He was so impressed that the Belvidere 6-year-old asked his parents, Tammy and Mark King, if he could do something like that for other kids in the hospital. That started young Jordan’s mission to put a little joy into the lives of children who also fight serious illnesses at Hope.

So far, Jordan has put together more than 100 gift bags for young patients at Hope. He uses some of the money people have given him for his birthday, and his mom and dad supply the rest. Last summer, a combination lemonade stand/garage sale brought in $150.

Jordan and his mom like to buy the gift bag items at Target, the one near the hospital. There, you park underground and take an escalator up to the store. That’s the high point of his shopping excursions, says Jordan.

For the bags for babies, Jordan and his mom buy a book, toy and socks. For older kids, the bags contain 10 or so items — small toys like a top and art and craft sets.

Each bag also contains a huge pair of sunglasses or a crazy hat.

That, says Jordan, “is to make the doctor laugh.“

Jordan and his parents have stayed at a Ronald McDonald House near Hope Hospital, a facility they describe as the best place you can be, next to home. They decided to help Ronald McDonald houses, too.

Since Ronald McDonald suggests people help by collecting the metal tabs on cans of soda, Jordan started saving them and spread the word among his relatives and people at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Belvidere. They responded by collecting enough tabs to fill a 33-gallon trash can. It weighs more than 110 pounds and, Mark estimates, contains 154,000 tabs. It will be sold and the money given to Ronald McDonald.Jordan, who was born with hypo plastic left heart syndrome, will need more surgery in the future. But he’s been given a thumbs-up by the heart specialists who say he doesn’t have to see them for a year.

Good thing, because Jordan has lots to do. He’s going to be a first grader at Immanuel Lutheran School; he plays T-ball and rounds the bases with each hit, even if he’s not supposed to; he plays with his little sister, Lauren, 3, and the family dog, Rainbow; practices pitching (his mom caught him throwing his “slider” near a window last week); golfs with his dad; and keeps up on all things athletic. His favorite TV show is Comcast Sports Net where he takes in all the replays.

Jordan doesn’t care which sport is featured. He likes them all. When asked about his “favorite” this or that, he has trouble because he can’t narrow it down. His favorite “color,” he says, is red, yellow, white, blue, green …

His mom understands why he can’t settle on just one thing.

“Jordan,” she says, “just has a huge love for life.”

Geri Nikolai: 815-871-6850; gmnikolai@gmail.com

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