by LAURA CZERWINSKI
Born 9 weeks premature in 2013, Marek Czerwinski spent about 7 weeks at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte as a patient. Since then, he had been looking for ways to give back and in 2021, he found the perfect way to spread joy!
Developing a MAJOR love for inflatable decorations at a young age, he partnered with the hospital on a program called Inflated Joy! The concept is simple: he collects new, inflatable decorations (less than 4-5ft tall) to donate to kids who will be in the hospital during the holidays so that they, too, can experience the joy these decorations bring to so many – right in their hospital room!
During the first year, the program was featured in the Lake Normal Citizen and on local TV stations, including Spectrum News to help get the word out. Marek even participated at a Huntersville Town meeting to make the official announcement and got full support from the Mayor and many of the town Commissioners.
Inflated Joy didn’t JUST collect inflatables. With a wish list provided by the hospital, the program expanded the gift list to include holiday lights, books, games, infant items and small gift sets to make parents who are taking care of their children at the hospital more comfortable. This also allowed us to cast a wider net to reach more recipients to bring joy to those where an inflatable might not be the best fit. That first year, we were able to donate over 100 inflatables and other fun items!
New for 2023, we’ve decided to collect and donate items throughout the year! You will find our wish list registry is filled with a large variety of items at multiple price points. Some items are as low as $10 and under and will ship direct for us to donate. There is no need to go shopping anywhere but online or do any drop offs. (Unless you absolutely want to, of course!) There will be birthday themed items, non-holiday themed inflatables and more to delight patients of all ages!
We know that there are so many in our neighboring communities here in the Lake Norman area that either know someone or have experienced first-hand the stress that comes from having a child in the hospital. Small tokens of joy can provide such small touches of normalcy and temporary relief in unspoken ways.
Here are a few other guidelines that are important to know:
- All items should be new, with tags or in the original packaging.
- Toys should be easy to clean and sanitize due to health regulations.
- We are sorry, but we are not able to accept:
- Cash Donations
- Used items. (This includes books.)
- Stuffed Animals
- Homemade items
To contact us, send an email to: [email protected]
If you’d love to learn more, we’d love for you to visit us on Facebook at: facebook.com/InflatedJoy
To go directly to our Gift List and Registry (where you can purchase and donate items directly), please visit us at: myregistry.com/giftlist/inflatedjoy
Enjoy our latest video about Inflated Joy on our YouTube Channel at: youtube.com/@inflatedjoy9539
Even if you are unable to donate, you can help simply by spreading the word! We’d be honored to have you help Inflated Joy!