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Children’s book donated to Golisano Children’s Hospital
December 19, 2018

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A book telling the tale of a little red wagon was donated to the Golisano Children's Hospital last week, which the Sanibel author hopes will calm the nerves of the youth admitted to the hospital, while giving them hope.

Admiral Scott Logan, a longtime supporter of the hospital, said in the spring of 2017, Sanibel resident and Author Dan Perkins finished writing his first children's book about a little seal, which was called, "Peter the Little Irish Seal." He explained that he went to the SanCap Cares Gala at the Sanctuary Golf Club on Sanibel with Perkins, which is where he was first introduced to the Red Wagon Fund.

"It's still in existence. It's an amazing growing part of the Lee Health Foundation. The Little Red Wagon fund is dedicated to significant pediatric needs at the (Golisano Children's) hospital," Logan said, adding that it continues to be funded to support those needs.

Logan lost his 20-month-old grandson to a very rare epilepsy condition.

"I was very familiar with the fact that the very significant critical childcare in our area was hard to find," Logan said.

He said his son Lance and daughter-in-law Jennie traveled all over the United States to try and help their son, and his grandson Brody.

With that said, when Logan and Perkins attended the SanCap Cares Gala, Logan said he took interest in the Little Red Wagon Fund and its objectives and thought it was something very worthwhile that needed attention and support.

"As Dan and I were together I turned to him knowing he was an accomplished author of adult books and children's books . . . 'what do you think about writing a book about a little red wagon,'" Logan said.

Perkins reply was that he had never written a book about a little red wagon.

He too had a personal experience with an experience at the hospital with an infant.

The Perkins family was living in New Jersey when Perkins second son had an infant who was very sick.

"The doctors could not figure out what was eroding him away," he said.

The infant was taken into an intensive care unit where tests were run. The doctors told the family that if the infant did not act favorable to the injection there was not anything they do for him. If the young boy pinked up after the injection, the doctors said, it was likely that he would survive.

"We were standing around his crib in the intensive care unit. He was given the injection and nothing happened. We were destroyed we were going to lose this little boy," Perkins said.

Fortunately, it was discovered that the vent was not opened, which did not allow the chemicals to work its magic. When the vent opened, the young boy's complexion turned into a beautiful pink.

The two gentleman learned that instead of gurneys, whenever possible, the children at the Golisano Children's Hospital were transported in little red wagons. Ideas began of what, "Timmy and the Little Red Wagon," should include.

The story shares the tale of Timmy. Perkins said Timmy's father brings home a red wagon. After the wagon is assembled it becomes a very big part of Timmy's life, as he sleeps in it, carries stuffed animals and dirt. Over time Timmy becomes less interested in the wagon and it stays outside where it deteriorates.

"Timmy's father rescues it and puts it in the shed," Perkins said. "Tim goes off to college and forgets about the wagon."

The book continues to share the story of Timmy's son, Cameron, who loves to go to his grandparents' house. When Cameron's at his grandparents' house, he takes his grandpa's hand and goes to the garage. When nothing is found there they then go to the shed where the red wagon is found.

"Tim comes in and says, 'You kept it. Cameron says 'Can I have it,'" Perkins said, which is followed by the grandpa saying "Let me fix it up for you."

When they return, the red wagon is fixed, and the family finds out that Cameron has a heart problem and he needs surgery. The 25-year-old restored Red Flyer is taken to the hospital with Cameron sitting inside and is kept in his hospital room.

Cameron has the surgery and is fine.

"He goes home and takes the wagon home with him," Perkins said.

The illustrations are wonderful, he said, adding that they are soft with pastel colors.

The book includes two blank pages at the beginning, providing space for those who have affected the child's life the most with space to write a note, or sign their name.

"Every child admitted to the hospital will get a copy of the book for free," Perkins said.

This was made possible through the Logan Family Foundation, who funded the printing of the book, and the first run of 2,000 copies, which were donated to Golisano Children's Hospital last week.

"I am doing a reading on the book next Tuesday. For those children that cannot come downstairs, some arrangements have been made for me to visit them in their hospital rooms," Perkins said, adding that he will go back once a month to do a reading for the kids.

In addition, he hopes to bring a program to the Golisano Children's Hospital that he does for adults.

"I'm not a typical author that goes to a book signing and talks about himself and goes and sits down and signs books," Perkins said, adding that he shares how he became a writer and why he wrote the particular book.

He then asks the audience to become coauthors of a storyline by simplifying asking a question and writing down their answers.

"It's inside of the writing process and an opportunity to be proactive participant in the storytelling process. Everybody loves a story," Perkins said. "It's a very high-risk maneuver because you don't know the audience. You have no idea what comes out of the mouth of people and you have to be quick on your feet."

The book, the gentleman hope will help the kids adjust to the hospital setting a little easier.

"The experience of a child's visit to a hospital can be a scary event," Perkins said. "But the experience and the warmth at Golisano puts everyone at ease. I kept thinking I could help continue to break down those fears through a book, just another way to help make the ordeal not so frightening."

Logan said he hopes the book will be helpful to children who are coming to the hospital, by giving them a way to have hope and less fear that the hospital is not a scary place.

For more information about "Timmy and the Little Red Wagon" or how to support Golisano Children's Hospital, contact Jeff Muddell at jeff.muddell@leehealth.org. For more information about the Little Red Wagon Fund, call the Lee Health Foundation at (239) 343-6950.

The book was edited by Doug Quelch and Gerri Perkins.

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