JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – While many Jacksonville children will be out trick-or-treating with their parents Wednesday evening, some will be spending Halloween in the hospital.
But thanks to one woman, a number of young patients receiving cancer treatment at Wolfson Children’s Hospital have plenty of music, costumes and treats to enjoy for the holiday.
“It feels like you’re left out whenever you’re stuck in the hospital,” said Tay Scheibe, founder of WithLove Charity, a nonprofit organization that gives back to children dealing with medical issues.
Scheibe would know. After all, she spent two of her childhood Halloweens in the hospital after she was diagnosed with cancer. It was that experience that led her to launch the nonprofit in 2012.
“It’s just a fulfillment at the end of the day in my heart to know that I can use my story to hopefully inspire someone or bring joy to these kids, even if it’s just for a moment,” she told News4Jax.
Scheibe and her charity have been hosting this Halloween party for the past five years. Every year, the nurses get to come up with a new theme. This year, the Disney-Pixar film “Finding Dory” is the theme.
But it’s not just Scheibe, her organization or the hospital’s patients getting into the Halloween spirit. The nurses and doctors went all out with their costumes, showing up to work in flippers and snorkels.
One by one, pediatric patients arrived at the party dressed as favorite characters. They even got some toys to take back with them. The Halloween party was a huge hit for patients like Jake Berglund.
Berglund, 14, chose to celebrate by dressing up as artist Bob Ross, complete with an afro and a beard. He's so carefree, you would never guess that he’s currently getting treatment for leukemia.
“It really helps when you’re here at the hospital,” he said. “Having something like this…you really can’t do stuff like this. It makes it all worth it.”
WithLove Charity has already donated more than $250,000 to children’s hospitals. Scheibe said the group has plans to return to Wolfson’s to host a Christmas party for all the pediatric patients.