By Dominic Garcia
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Eight-year-old Marlie Walker is going to have a huge impact on hundreds of grieving children. Loss is something she’s dealt with personally and knows the power a simple gesture can have.
This past summer, her father, Cody Walker, was in a motorcycle crash. He was rushed to the emergency room at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.
While the family was in the emergency room that tragic day, a UCHealth nurse, Reatha Blumenthal, gave Marlie a stuffed toy to comfort her.
“We try and make them feel as at ease as we can and try and take some of the scary aspects out of being here. We understand how difficult it can be,” she told CBS4.
In the months that followed, Marlie felt inspired to help other children who may end up in similar trauma and loss situations. In honor of her father, earlier this month, she launched a campaign called Stuffies for Emergencies.
“I want to help kids who are going through hard things like me. I want the nurse to give them a stuffed animal too,” said Marlie.
The goal: collect more than 500 new stuffed animals for children at the emergency room of UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins. The response was huge and people ended up donating a total of 616 stuffed animals.
“I know she’s helped a lot of kids who will come here and be scared of the process, but will be comforted by that. Especially knowing it was from someone who was here for a similar reason for what she was here for.”