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Our Nurse of the Week is Lyndsee Wunn, a pediatric nurse at Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel who was inspired to help provide for foster children after seeing so many children alone in the hospital.
Wunn has been a pediatric nurse for 15 years and she spends her 12-hour shifts caring for children battling cancer and struggling with heart defects. While many of her patients have parents and caregivers by their side providing love and encouragement, there are also foster children who spend time in the hospital alone.
Seeing foster children suffering alone inspired Wunn and her husband Geoffrey, also a pediatric nurse, to get their state certification to become foster parents. They already had a son at the time, Landon, now 8, but the need for foster families is so great that four days after being approved, they were asked by an Oregon Department of Human Services caseworker if they’d take Cooper, a drug-addicted infant born in a Portland-area hospital. They fostered Cooper, now 6, for more than 18 months and then adopted him when the boy’s parents relinquished their rights.
With their careers and two kids at home, the Wunn’s decided they could no longer commit to being foster parents, but it wasn’t easy for them to let go after continuing to see foster kids in the hospital at work. Compelled to do more, they decided to collect new clothing and supplies that could be sent to children taken in by a foster family.
Wunn shared her new project on Facebook and received a huge response. After outgrowing the room in her home, she partnered with a local church to store her items in their basement, rent free, for children ranging from infants to 18 years old. Wunn’s project is now listed online and operated under the umbrella of Embrace Oregon, a nonprofit based in Portland that works with the Department of Human Services to focus on the foster system.
Brooke Gray, the executive director of Embrace Oregon, tells OregonLive.com, “She had a unique idea. Some of these families are asked to take in a newborn with just two hours’ notice. We’ve had nurses tell us that all they have to send a baby out of the hospital with is a blanket. This is like having a baby shower and getting everything a family needs.”
To learn more about Lyndsee Wunn, a pediatric nurse who was inspired by her work to adopt a foster child and start a nonprofit to help provide clothing and supplies for foster children, visit here.
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