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Check out NBC Bay Area’s coverage of Ember Lin-Sperry’s work to bring birthday joy to patients at our hospital:

What are your favorite memories from childhood birthday parties? Were there silly hats, festive signs, and your favorite themed decorations? 

One enterprising teenager from Palo Alto has made it her mission to ensure that children who are hospitalized and far from home on their birthdays have an opportunity to celebrate. 

Sixteen-year-old Ember Lin-Sperry knows that parents have a lot to do and think about while their child is receiving care at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. To help give parents and patients a boost, Ember created Project Birthday Box, which delivers a celebration-in-a-box for families to enjoy. Thoughtfully enclosed in each kit, parents will find everything from birthday hats and glow sticks to themed plates and decorated signs. 

“I hope our birthday boxes make it easier for families to have fun together,” explained Ember. “Even though they can’t leave the hospital, they can still celebrate.”

Ember’s mother, Eleanor Lin, is a nurse in our maternity unit. She shared that the hospital’s party supplies available to parents were becoming increasingly scarce. So Ember and a few of her friends planned a fundraiser through our Champions for Children program. The group began gathering items for the kits with a party supply drive at school, and has also raised money by babysitting younger kids at a local church, with a local businesses donating food for the evening. Each kit is unique and comes in a handy canvas tote bag. 

“We once received a lot of pirate-themed supplies, so we had some cool pirate party kits for a while,” Ember said. 

Project Birthday Box’s deliveries have provided a festive surprise for our staff and an encouragement to families. 

“We are so grateful for the generosity of friends like Ember to bring the joy of a special celebration to our patients and families,” said Ashton Slagel, community relations associate at the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, and a coordinator of the Champions for Children program. “Gifts like these help us care for the 'whole child,' including their emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.”

Now a junior at Gunn High School, Ember has recently made Project Birthday Box into a registered nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. She hopes to continue her project at Packard Children’s and is working with her cousin to expand it to Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose. 

It may not come as a surprise that the experience Ember has gained through Project Birthday Box has inspired her to look toward studying business or medicine in college. But for now, she is happy to brighten the days of our patients with her cheerful deliveries.