It happened four years ago. Jenny Raimondo was enjoying a meal with her family in Mexico, when her youngest daughter, Maddi, fell off the balcony. Two stories later, she hit the cement. She was eventually air-lifted to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Jenny told me a little more about what she had been through.
“She had seven skull fractures, a broken femur, and two fractured vertebrae,” she said. “Maddi was non-verbal and immobile when she came home.”
That’s when the non-profit organization, Maddi’s Bag, was conceptualized. The neighborhood Jenny said, had really embraced the family and provided them with an abundance of coloring books, puzzles, markers, and toys for Maddi to play with. In an effort to give back to them, Jenny had a shopping event at her home with various local vendors. With the community’s support, she had raised $7,000. Jenny donated every cent of it to the trauma unit in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“And they asked me if I wanted to solely focus on the trauma unit, or donate to other areas of the hospital,” Jenny recalled. “But I feel like trauma is always overlooked, so I said yes.”
The funds that Jenny donates to the trauma unit will be used to buy toys, coloring books, and puzzles to fill with the drawstring bags, which the hospital also provides. Jenny also started a Maddi’s Star award, which will go to a different nurse, doctor, or therapist every month and will supply them with a $100 gift card. Throughout the year, local schools will contribute items to Maddi’s Bag as part of a community service project.
Last year, Jenny recalled making close to $15,000 with around 200 attendees. She loves the support the community provides and how she can make a difference in the lives of other children in need.
“Our mission is to comfort children when life confronts them traumatically,” she said. “We are dedicated to providing a bountiful supply of activities and necessities to help re-connect families during their recovery from traumatic injury. Maddi’s Bag, together with community, proudly celebrates the strength, survival and gratitude of pediatric trauma.”