HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Bianca Mollica, 7, knows how cold it can get at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
To combat the chill, Bianca is collecting new or recently made blankets and hats to distribute at the hospital. The campaign is called Bianca’s Bumblebees.
“Sometimes it can be cold in there and for kids with cancer, they lose their hair and their heads get cold,” Bianca said. “That’s what the hats are for.”
For Bianca, the cause is personal. She was first admitted to Connecticut Children’s when she was 3-weeks-old and has been a patient since she was diagnosed at 18 months with von Willebrand’s disease, a lifelong bleeding disorder caused by low levels of clotting protein.
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Her experiences as a patient at Connecticut Children’s drew Bianca to give back.
The hospital blankets can sometimes feel institutional, Bianca said.
“They’re plain old white,” she said, clad head to toe in hot pink. “I’ll feel happy to do something good.”
Camie Mollica, Bianca’s mother, said her daughter hopes to donate 200 blankets. She said the hospital has about 170 beds and 200 would be more than enough for everyone.
“Because she’s a patient, she sees the good, the bad and the ugly,” Mollica said. “She’s going to do her first drop-off on Sept. 18 and it’s something she’s going to do as an ongoing thing.”
Unlike some patients at Connecticut Children’s, Bianca is able to live a fairly typical life. Events like losing baby teeth or a nose bleed can be risky, but Bianca has learned to recognize the signs and take precautionary steps.
“She usually has a handful of emergency room visits a year and she’s at CCMC about six times a year. It used to be more like 12 so we’re happy with that,” Mollica said. “In the past few years she’s gotten so good at recognizing when it’s coming. It’s not something where she’s not going to live a normal life. She’s a competitive dancer and she’s running around all the time.”
And when the bleeding gets bad, Bianca has a unique solution. Giggles.
“One day she was having a nose bleed and I said to her, ‘If crying makes your nose bleed worse, what makes it better?’ And she said giggles, so that’s what we do now,” Mollica said. “It just doesn’t stop her at all.”
Bianca set up donation bins for blankets in Wethersfield, Newington and Rocky Hill. Her mother posted requests for small businesses to host bins on local Facebook pages and found 10 businesses willing to lend a hand.
Those wishing to donate can leave new or recently made blankets and hats at the Main Street Creamery, Wethersfield Diner, Mirabelli’s Auto on the Berlin Turnpike and Backstage Academy of Dance in Newington.
On the Silas Deane Highway, drop-off boxes have been set up at Battison’s Dry Cleaning, Weichert Realtors and Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate in Wethersfield. Scoops and Sprinkles in Rocky Hill also has a donation bin.
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