WASHINGTON (ABC7) — There's extra pressure on moms this year, especially those moms whose kids are hospitalized with long-term illnesses.
But an organization that supports those families called Hope for Henry made sure that moms were celebrated for Mother's Day, even inside hospital walls.
Hope For Henry provided bags of gifts and breakfast for mothers at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, and Cleveland Clinic Children's.
At Medstar Georgetown, one of the pediatric units is now being used to treat COVID-19 patients. The mothers of patients in the 16 remaining pediatric beds were honored Sunday morning.
The nonprofit also supports the families of children who come in and out of the hospital for cancer treatments and other health issues.
"We wanted to make the moms feel just a little extra special today," says child life specialist Liz Granberg, who works in the hospital.
She says a particular struggle for parents is the new safety regulations. Only one parent may be with a child, and when they trade-off, they can't return to the hospital for 24 hours.
"It's been tough because we also limit them to the room," says Granberg. "So they aren't allowed to go for walks, or even walk around the unit. One extra thing that I've been personally adding to my job is to say, hey what can I do for you, can I go get you a coffee from the downstairs coffee shop, can I pick up a package someone's dropping off?"
Laurie Strongin is the CEO and founder of Hope for Henry, named for her son. Eight-year-old Henry died after a bone marrow transplant in 2002. The pair spent many nights at Medstar Georgetown.
"It's very lonely and it's very scary, and that life or death threat that they live with every day is magnified," says Strongin of the added stress of the pandemic.
Hope for Henry often provides meals for patients and their families, decorating hospital rooms, throwing birthday parties and brightening young patients' days.
On Sunday, they wanted to recognize moms.
"The message is you are important and we know you're here, and we remember you and we care for you and you're going to be okay," says Strongin.