All too often, children are born with serious health challenges that require extensive hospital stays and intensive care. ‘Aryeh’s Special Smile’ provides special support packages for these families to let the family know that someone is there that cares for them.
A new organization founded in memory of Chaim Aryeh Dovid Michoel Brown, who passed away at the age of 11 months, delivers support packages to families that have a child or children who have medical needs that require extended stays in hospitals and a lot of medical care.
Named ‘Aryeh’s Special Smile,’ the organization was founded by Rabbi Yitzchok and Bracha Brown in memory of their young son Aryeh a”h. Aryeh was a very special and happy baby. He loved playing with his toys in his crib and banging things on the walls of the crib.
Aryeh was born in a hospital and spent the first 3 months of his life in the NICU. At a few months old, he was diagnosed with Moebius Syndrome. This disorder is characterized by weakened facial and breathing muscles, which can cause many difficulties and complications.
One of the telltale symptoms of Moebius Syndrome is weakened facial muscles, which can border on a paralytic state. Due to this, Aryeh, as he was affectionately called by many, was not able to smile in a typical way. Nevertheless, when he was happy, everyone in the room could pick up on it. He had a special way of communicating his feelings through his eyes and body language. He was a favorite amongst the nurses at the rehab and hospital facilities he stayed at! Many people remarked that he was surprisingly aware for his young age. He exuded a certain cleverness that many could instantly see upon meeting him.
On 2 Tamuz 5782, at the age of 11 months, Hashem took Aryeh back to be “close to Him.” His passing was sudden, as he was doing well for a while.
Having personally experienced the challenges that families of children with medical needs go through, his parents decided to found Aryeh’s Special Smile.
All too often, children are born with serious health challenges that require extensive hospital stays and intensive care. Many children are born with varying types and forms of syndromes and other medical predicaments. Sometimes these complications are known of in advance of birth, and sometimes they are complete surprises. There are those who experience serious complications after birth as well.
Such a challenging situation suddenly arising can be very confusing and overwhelming, to say the least. Parents in such a circumstance often feel very much alone.
Nevertheless, many things are required of these parents. Doctors are medical professionals and are not always sensitive to the parents’ emotional states. In such a state, the parents must make decisions and arrangements at a moment’s notice. These arrangements include transportation to and from the hospital, organizing for child care, and many other things.
Because so much happens at once, they often have absolutely no headspace and cognizance for arranging basic things like remembering to pack a phone charger or snacks for the hospital.
This is where Aryeh’s special smile comes on the scene. They prepare special hospital packages for these families. These packages are special duffle bags filled with many items. Some things are essentials and others are small things to let the family know that someone is there that cares for them.
Their special hospital care packages are generously filled with anything a family could possibly need during their child’s hospital stay. This includes blankets for parent and baby, snacks, reading materials such as a book, charger, a pocket-sized Tehillim, notepad/personal journal, hospital socks, tichel, baby toys, makeup wipes, hand cream, thank-you notes and gifts for nurses and doctors, shir hamaalos clips and more, all packed in a special duffel bag and ready to go!
“Just like Aryeh had (and of course still has!) his unique and special way of smiling, we endeavor to be able to put a smile on the faces of families who are in places of great need. All of this is done to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu and the era of the complete redemption,” Aryeh’s parents told Anash.org.
Aryeh’s Special Smile currently services any family in the tri-state area, that has a child with extra medical needs that require frequent hospital/rehab stays.
People can reach out for more information or request a package or donate at our website: aryehsspecialsmile.org.
Email: [email protected] Instagram: @aryehsspecialsmile