Pat Hedgeman, Why I Care Member Recipient

Pat Hedgeman, Why I Care Member Recipient

Shortly after Pat Hedgeman’s two-year-old granddaughter, Rosemary, passed away from neuroblastoma, a form of childhood cancer, she, along with Rosemary’s parents, founded Rosie’s Love. Rosie’s Love is an organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children and families battling childhood cancer. For the past 22 years, Pat has been an active volunteer for the organization named for her granddaughter.

Since its inception, Pat has worked tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of others. She remembers December 2000, soon after Rosie’s Love was established, talking with a young cancer patient and asked if she had written her Christmas list out. The young girl said she only wanted one thing, a gift for her mom to thank her for all she had done since her diagnosis, but because the girl had a compromised immune system she couldn’t be in public to buy a gift. From that discussion, the Rosie’s Love Holiday Shop was born, where patients can shop for gifts for their loved ones and have them wrapped free of charge.

Pat also recalls a special Father’s Day when Rosie’s Love brought boutonnières to all of the hospitalized pediatric cancer patients to give to their fathers. “I remember one little boy was so thrilled to have a gift for his dad,” she says. “He was beaming from ear to ear! He picked up his pillow and put the flower under it saying he was hiding it so he could surprise his father when he came!”

Later that morning, she saw the boy’s father proudly wearing the flat, half-dead boutonnière and a smile as wide as his son’s had been earlier in the day. He thanked Pat for bringing such joy to his son, since it was the first time he had seen the boy excited and smiling in a long time.

In addition to her involvement with Rosie’s Love, Pat also volunteers for Double H Ranch, Circle of Champs, Make-A-Wish, Ronald McDonald House, and as a Brownie and Girl Scout leader.
 

“I personally feel overwhelming joy every time I look at one of those children’s smiling faces."

 

If these stories inspire you, nominate someone you know for SEFCU’s Why I Care award by clicking here.