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Art & Music Night at RMH near Comer Children’s Hospital

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) sponsored an Art and Music Night at the Ronald McDonald House near Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago on Monday, June 11th.  We also donated Alyssa Starter Art Kits while there with delivery of an assortment of kits made to the House Director, Mardell Gundlach.

The Art and Music Nights held at the RMHs are for patients and their family members of any and all ages and, once again, we had a mother and daughter participate in painting picture frames.

Gabby (short for Gabriela), 7 years old, and her Mom, Natasha, are from South Bend, IN and staying at the RMH for Gabby’s treatments and tests.  Gabby’s health condition forced her to miss participation with her class for 1st grade but she hopes to re-join her class in the fall after being home-schooled the past year.  Gabby and Tasha had a wonderful time painting, talking and using their creative talents.

Alyssa’s memory carries on and touches people every day when we host one of our events.  As supporters of AAFH, you can see the joy that is brought to these families during troubling times in their lives.

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Brody Receives Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones

Brody 13-years old, was diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) last december 2017 and is being treated at Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago, IL.   In May 2018 we met Brody during a Music Night at RMH near Comer Children’s Hospital.  We shared information about Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope’s music and art programs and Brody was excited about submitting his gift request.  His mom, Stefani, was also happy to learn about the Alyssa Foundation and enjoyed an hour of music with us.  Brody lives with his mom and dad-David in Decatur, IL.  

Brody completed 7th grade and is ready to hang out with his friends this summer.  He likes to play video games and loves sports.  He has 2 dogs named Milo and Scotch.  As a younger boy, Brody took piano lessons and also wanted to learn how to play the drums so his parents purchased a drum set for him.  Due to Brody's medical treatment, he has not been able to play the drums, however, he plans to take lessons once he feels better. 

On June 4th, Brody received his Beats Solo3 wireless headphones. We hope Brody enjoys listening to his music even after he is able to create his own music on the drums.

Our goal is to inspire teens and young adults to be creative and give them hope to continue living life to its fullest while facing their serious health challenges.

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Lurie Children's Hospital gets Alyssa SAKs & Ukuleles and AAFH Receives Check Donation from BCBSIL

Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) were delivered to the Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago on Friday, June 1, 2018.  A total of 50 Alyssa SAKs were received by Willow Messier, the Art Therapist at the hospital.  In addition, a few ukuleles donated by Tom Stading, owner of Instrument Exchange, were received by Elizabeth Klinger, the Music Therapist at the hospital.

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope was created to give hope and provide outlets for creative expression through art and music for young patients dealing with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.  We give young patients the opportunity to experience with different art mediums like watercolors or acrylics, drawing, coloring and journaling.  When young patients feel tired and sad due to their ongoing medical treatments at the hospital, the music from a ukulele generates positive changes in mind, body and spirit.  The change is remarkable!  The young patients with the help of music create a new path towards joy, healthiness and wholeness.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois gave a generous donation check to AAFH. and Yoli - President of Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope accepted the check on Friday, June 1, 2018.  The check was presented by BCBSIL employees: Denise Perez-Cabrera who is also the AAFH Executive Secretary and Mariana Herrera-Alfaro who is an AAFH volunteer.  Thank you BCBSIL employees for volunteering your time to events sponsored by Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope. With our sincere gratitude.  You are making a difference in a young adult patients life forever.

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Gift Recipients - Hospital Civil in Guadalajara, Mexico

Dra. Martha Juarez from Hospital Civil Fray Antonio Alcalde de Guadalajara presented several young adult patients with their requested gifts on Monday, May 14, 2018.  Also, wanted to share that Dra. Martha was involved in the first festival of Psicologia at the hospital.  Dra. Martha is very active promoting both the music and art programs of Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope in Guadalajara's civil children hospitals. Jonathan Isaac, a 15-year-old received his new trumpet, Mariana Montes a 19 year-old received her new violin, Sofia Urena, a 14 year-old received her new electronic keyboard and Jorge Vargas, a 18 year-old received his new guitar.  

Many thanks to Dra. Martha for promoting Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope to the teens and young adult patients being treated for various cancers at Hospital Civil Fray Antonio Alcalde de Guadalajara-Jalisco, Mexico. It's great to continue sharing Alyssa's love of music with young patients around the world!

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AAFH Attends BLUE CORPS COMMUNITY PARTNER – Employee Volunteering Event

AAFH earns Matching Dollars for each volunteer hour logged into Blue Corps by its employees and has been a community partner with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois since 2016! 

In April, Yoli – AAFH President participated in an employee volunteering open house in the Naperville office where she met several BCBS employees-Diana Fortich, Joan Skrede and Margie Salas.  Yoli shared the volunteering opportunities of our organization such as preparing Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs), hosting an art night or music night at a local RMH, delivering Alyssa SAKs to local hospitals and medical institutions, and helping with our fundraising events in various roles. 

Employees found out that they do not need to be artists or musicians for these volunteering opportunities. We need people who want to make a positive difference in the life of a patient or their family and the time commitment is up to you….1 hour or as many as you can.

Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope loves volunteers!  Please go to our website and check-out all the things we have done for the teens and young adults around the US, Mexico and other countries.

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Art and Music Night at RMH in Oak Lawn, IL

An Art and Music Night was sponsored by AAFH at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) near Advocate Children's Hospital in Oak Lawn, IL on Wednesday, May 9, 2018.  We also donated Alyssa Starter Art Kits while there with delivery made to the House Manager, Jenna Embry.

The Art and Music Nights held at the RMHs are for patients and their family members of all ages so it is a treat to have multi-generations participate in our fun activities.  And this is exactly what occurred that evening.

Angel, 3 years old, was at the RMH with his family from Valparaiso, Indiana, while his baby sister (9 months old) Sofia, awaited heart surgery.  Angel enthusiastically started in on a painting project and was quickly joined by his grandmother, Natividad, and mother, Letty.  When Angel finished his art project early, he was thrilled to begin using the maracas as drumsticks on the congos we brought for the music portion of the night.  His Mom and Grandma were also happy to complete their painting projects and exhibit their creative talents.

Alyssa’s memory carries on and touches people every day that we host one of our events.  As supporters of AAFH, you can see the joy that is brought to these families during troubling times in their lives.  We pray for everything to go well with Sofia’s heart surgery.

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Alyssa SAKs Delivery to Bryn Mawr Hospital in Pennsylvania

Exelon employees from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, participated in an Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) volunteer event and prepared Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) on Thursday, May 3, 2018.  A dozen employees gathered to assemble a variety of SAKs including adult coloring books, journal kits and pencil drawing kits.  They completed the Alyssa SAKs in 16 minutes which set a new record surpassing the previous record of 26 minutes by the Exelon team at the Cantera office in Warrenville, IL!     

Once the Alyssa SAKs were completed, Exelon employees Joan Verra and John T. Hall accompanied Yoli, Alyssa’s mom and president of AAFH, to make the delivery to Bryn Mawr Hospital in Pennsylvania.  We met with Lynn Keily – Development Office of Bryn Mawr Foundation who told us that the Alyssa SAKs will be given to young patients in the pediatric/oncology unit of the hospital.  She appreciated our donation.

Alyssa’s legacy lives on!

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Drum Set & Professional Airbrush Compressor Presented to Gift Recipients

After our Kind Heart Music Recital on April 22, 2018 at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital, we had the pleasure of presenting Aldrick  & Quinn with the gifts they had previously requested.

Ashlee & Glen Schneider, AAFH Board members, presented a professional art package including an airbrush compressor kit to Aldrick.  Aldrick, a 21-year-old, is being treated at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, IL for sickle cell disease.  Aldrick heard about AAFH from Art Therapist-Lori Mackey at Advocate Children's Hospital.  Aldrick is aspiring to be a tattoo and graphic artist and hopes to pursue this as a career and work in this field.

Quinn, a 12-year-old, received a Ludwig 4 piece maroon drum set from the AAFH.  Quinn is being treated at Lurie Children’s Hospital for acute lymphoblastic leukemia since July 2017.  Quinn found out about the AAFH from the child life staff at Lurie and expressed his desire to play drums.  He also likes to play video games, basketball and baseball.

These two gift recipients embody our goal to inspire teens and young adults to be creative and provide them hope to continue living their lives to the fullest.  This is made possible only through the caring and support of our donors to whom we are deeply grateful.

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4th Kind Heart Music Recital

The 4th Annual Kind Heart Music Recital was held at Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago on Sunday, April 22, 2018.  The benefit recital was hosted by Ashlee & Glen Schneider who are both board members of Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope.  Ashlee was Alyssa’s piano teacher for ten years beginning when Alyssa turned 4. 

This year’s music recital featured some of Ashlee’s private students, other music students from Matea Valley High School and the Schneider Singers – Corrine, Caleb, Calvin, Clara, Jack, Graham and Nora Schneider. 

The musicians played a variety of music from classical artists such as Mozart and Beethoven to more contemporary selections.  The Schneider Singers sang several songs: Early One Morning, Come with Me, Peanut Song, You’ll Always be a Friend of Me, and the Hello Song.  The Schneider Singers are directed by Judi Schneider who is the children’s grandmother and a pianist.  They were also accompanied on one song by their grandfather who is a professional percussionist.  We also listened to a flute duet by Amy, Ashlee’s sister-in-law, and Ashlee Schneider.

There were 2 gift recipients who received gifts – Aldrick, 21-year-old, received a professional art package and Quinn, 12-year-old, received a new drum set!  These gifts were made possible because of YOU, our donors and sponsors and we thank you.

Special Thanks to Ashlee and Glen Schneider for hosting the 4th Annual Kind Heart Music Recital, all the young musicians and the volunteers who helped with this event.  We thank The Fresh Market, Tom Stading from Instrument Exchange and Dra. Martha Juarez for their generous donations to help us raise funds to fulfill our mission.  Our goal is to inspire teens and young adults to be creative and give them hope to continue living life to its fullest while facing significant health challenges.

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Alyssa's brother, Vince, makes delivery to Gift Recipient in Carmel, IN

On Thursday, April 12th, Vince Alvin, a board member of the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) and Alyssa’s brother, delivered a set of Bose SoundLink II headphones to a young gift recipient by the name of Bella at her home in Carmel, IN.  We first met Bella, her parents and brother at the Ronald McDonald House in Winfield, IL when she was receiving treatment at the Chicago Proton Center.  Bella was diagnosed with a brain tumor and has gone through numerous medical procedures during the last couple of years.  With all that, Bella and her family have still been in regular contact with the various activities and events of AAFH.

Bella’s Mom, Tasha, checks in with us regularly and we heard that Bella would be interested in a set of Bose headphones.  We were delighted to get them for Bella just in time for her 18th birthday.  It is a pleasure to see her smile with a sparkle in her eyes as she listens to her music while wearing the headphones AAFH has given her. 

It is great to also know that Bella continues to be strong in her fight to live her life with hope and joy despite the medical circumstances.  Bella is surrounded by her loving parents and brother who provide her with all their emotional support to get through her ongoing treatments.  Bella is a very bright and strong young adult. 

It is our wish and prayer that Bella fully recovers from her illness and we send love and support from all of us here in the extended AAFH family!

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Music Night at RMH near Comer Children’s Hospital

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) sponsored a Music Night at the Ronald McDonald House on the south side of Chicago near Comer Children’s Hospital on Monday, April 9th.  Two members of the AAFH Executive Team, Denise Perez-Cabrera and Yoli Alvin, volunteered to host the Music Night. 

We arrived with several instruments to hold a hands-on music session with the residents at the house who enjoyed the bongos, music sticks, tambourine, maracas and ukulele.  Two young teens, Sulaiman (15 years old) and Brody (13 years old), and their family members were especially enthralled with the variety of instruments.  Sulaiman was accompanied by his parents and Brody was there with his mom.  We were able to give them additional information about making a gift request on our website and each of them also took an art kit to enjoy at their leisure.  The remaining art kits that we brought were left as donations to the RMH for other youth.

It was wonderful to see the happiness, excitement and curiosity of the young patients trying the different instruments and interacting with their families.

Alyssa’s legacy lives on!

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Remembering Past Gift Recipients Whose Cancer Journey Has Sadly Ended

Last year the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) honored Fernando Ponce and Elijah Rivers.  They were courageous in battling their cancer while being treated at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.IL. 

We are thankful that we were able to touch each of these lives if even for a brief moment to give them joy while they were with us.

Elijah Rivers submitted a request for a keyboard despite the cancer in his hands.  Elijah was a joyful 18-year-old who pursued many interests besides music.  We were able to meet his mom and sisters when we delivered the keyboard to him prior to one of his outpatient visits to Lurie Children’s Hospital.

Last January 2017, Fernando Ponce, requested yarn to weave his first ever blanket.  Fernando  was very happy to receive his yarn and other materials to weave his blanket while at Lurie Children’s Hospital.  We met Fernando's grandma who was with him at Lurie's when we delivered his yarn and she was excited for him.  She had weaved a yarn purse and gave it to Yoli as a token of her appreciation for what we did for Fernando.

Our hearts remember these special gift recipients and we pray for strength for these families.

Despite our sadness, our resolve is stronger than ever to reach as many young adults as possible through the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope to give them hope and joy.

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Fundraiser at Old Crow Smokehouse a Big Success!

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) hosted a fundraiser at the Old Crow Smokehouse in the River North neighborhood in Chicago on March 24, 2018.  This is the second year that we have held this event at the restaurant and we are pleased to say that it was more successful than last year!

This fundraising event was again led by Daniel Guerrero, Alyssa’s cousin, and held at Old Crow through his friendship with Samantha Sanchez, a family member of the restaurant owner.  Besides Daniel’s large group of friends who attended and purchased raffle tickets, many of our supportive friends also enjoyed great barbecue, sides, drinks and desserts.  Special desserts were brought in by another of Daniel’s friends, Jennifer Herrera, through her own business – BakeAblesChicago.com. 

There were many other very generous donors who provided the raffle items including C&C Insurance Solutions, Exelon Generation, Franco’s, Instrument Exchange, Kathy De’s Deli, Kernels Gourmet Popcorn, Old Towne Pub, 360 Flavor & Spice, Villa Verone, Amanda Rico, and more.  Please check-out and support our sponsors on our website…just click HERE.

The food and drinks were great and the desserts were delicious.  Daniel did a great job conducting the raffle and all winners walked away happy with a new item to enjoy.  Even Alyssa’s alma mater, Loyola University, helped make the evening festive with a huge win as they advanced to the Final Four.

We are grateful to all our friends, supporters and donors in attendance and those who were with us in spirit for carrying on Alyssa’s legacy of love for the arts and allowing us to continue to help other youths struggling with life-threatening illnesses.  Thank You!

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Art Night at RMH near Loyola Medical Center in Hines, IL

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) hosted an Art Night at the Ronald McDonald House near Loyola Medical Center on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.  Nancy Nunez, godmother to Alyssa, accompanied Yoli, Alyssa’s mom and President of AAFH, to lead this Art Night with the children and their family members who were staying at the RMH. 

The parents of a young boy were excited to see their son participate in the drawing and coloring activity during the Art Night.  Another young girl was not feeling well initially, however within 15 minutes of the Art Night beginning, she started drawing, smiling and enjoying the event.  It is always a pleasure to watch the happiness our activities bring to the young patients and their families. 

Nancy and Yoli encouraged and praised the efforts of the artists while everyone enjoyed themselves.

Special thanks to David Pittner, Resident Manager at RMH, for facilitating the Art Night and accepting a separate donation of Alyssa Starter Art Kits.

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Because of Your Donations 15 Gift Recipients in 1st Quarter 2018

Dra. Martha Juarez from Hospital Civil de Guadalajara (Viejo) presented Zulema 20 years of age with her new ukulele & Johan 19 years of age with his new guitar on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. 

Thank you to all of you who volunteer and make donations that make it possible to promote the art and music programs of Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope.  You directly impact the lives of these teens and young adult patients being treated for various cancers.

In the first quarter of 2018, Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope has fulfilled the requests of 15 gift recipients from various hospitals:

-6 from Hospital Civil de Guadalajara, Mexico; 

-4 from Hospital Central Dr. Ignacio Morones Prieto in San Luis Potosi, Mexico

-3 from Robert Ann Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, IL;

-1 from Edward Hospital in Naperville, IL; and

-1 from Arnold Palmer Children's Medical Center in Orlando, FL.

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Deliveries of Alyssa SAKs to Advocate Children’s Hospital & RMH

30 Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs)were delivered at RMH near Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, IL on Wednesday, March 14, 2018.  Both Jenna and Colleen- RMH Managers received a variety of Alyssa SAKs.  These art kits will be given to the teens and young adult patients staying at the RMH.  The art materials allow the teen and young adult patients to be creative and express themselves in a fun way while undergoing treatment for their illnesses. 

30 Alyssa SAKs were delivered to Advocate Children’s Hospital on Friday, March 16, 2018.  The Child Life Team received a variety of Alyssa SAKs:  Lori Mackey-Art Therapist, Julie – Art Therapist and Elizabeth-Music Therapist.   The delivery included 6 types of art kits: adult coloring books, drawing kits, color-me lunch bag kits, journal kits, watercolor and acrylic kits.

We are thankful that we can share Alyssa’s love for the arts with others. 

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Join us at Old Crow Smokehouse River North – March 24th 4-7pm

Join us at the Old Crow Smokehouse River North location in Chicago to benefit the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope.  Your participation in this event directly contributes in bringing joy, hope and love to young adult cancer patients at hospitals in the Chicagoland area, across the country and around the world. 

Last year we raised over $2,000.  Invite your friends and family and come out and have a fun evening with us to help us beat last years funds raised.  There will be a delicious BBQ along with drinks, music and raffles!

All this is happening on March 24, 2018 from 4-7pm.  So get your tickets today in advance and save $10 per person.  You can go HERE to our website and purchase tickets for $40 online or $50 at the door. If you have any questions or would like to contribute in any way please call our event manager-Daniel Guerrero at 312-437-2070.

Below are pictures from last year’s event.  Come out and be part of the fun with family and friends for a great cause! 

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School of Art Joins AAFH for Art Night

The School of Art staff from Geneva, IL traveled downtown to host an Art Night at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago on Tuesday, February 20, 2018.

Patients and their family members participated in drawing, painting and creating art based around the first initial of their name or that of a loved one.  The volunteer instructors from the School of Art, Jennifer and Hannah, directed the budding artists to trace the letter onto a white piece of paper.  The letter then became the background from which the artists were free to create colorful scenes of self-expression.

The smiles all around the tables were clear evidence of the fun that all the participants and volunteers were having in creating their pieces.  We are very grateful to the School of Art in Geneva for donating the materials as well as their time and instruction to the patients and their families.  School of Art instructors utilize a teaching style that encourages creative thought and develops critical thinking.  This guidance has immediate results for attendees and it is an enjoyable experience for them.  Please visit SchoolofArtgeneva.com to learn more about School of Art in Geneva and the services they provide to all ages.

Alyssa’s love for art carries on in the efforts of AAFH and in the joy experienced by all who attended.

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Thankful for Corporate Sponsor Donation of Pentalic Journals

Tara Medeiros who is a graphic designer and social media coordinator at C2F, Inc. recently contacted Yoli-President of Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope.  C2F is a premier wholesale distributor, manufacturer and importer of fine art, graphics, craft, office and school supplies.  Tara had heard about our foundation and was impressed with how our mission aligned with the company’s own.  Specifically, they were impressed with AAFH’s donations of journal kits to young patients with cancer and other life threatening illnesses.

The company developed the Pentalic brand of journals to allow for maximum creative expression by its users.  Tara said, “the Pentalic brand was created because her company believes memories are created and art happens both inside and outside a person’s regular destinations and routines". It can happen in fixed positions of their home, school or hospital but contain only a portion of their narrative. The boundaries of peoples’ mind and soul cannot be assigned to a single location. They were designed to be lightweight and mobile to give budding artists the ability to jot their thoughts and ideas whenever the muse struck them

Tara visited our website and saw the work AAFH has done with young patients and was impressed enough to make a donation of 4 dozen travel journals in a variety of colors and we are grateful for this very generous donation.  On behalf of AAFH, thank you C2F!

 

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Gift Recipients at Hospital Civil de Guadalajara, Mexico

Dra. Martha Juarez distributed musical instruments donated by the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope to 4 patients at Hospital Civil (Viejo) de Guadalajara, Mexico on Wednesday, January 31, 2018. 

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                                            Photo: L to R - Luis Alfonso, Nurse, Alejandra, Miguel Alfonso & Dra. Martha

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                                                      Servando, 20 years of age, received his electronic keyboard

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                                                              Luis Alfonso, 20 years of age, received his guitar.

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                                                             Alejandra, 20 years of age, received her guitar.

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                                                 Miguel Alfonso, 17 years of age, received his electronic keyboard

We want to thank our dedicated volunteers Dra. Martha-Medical Staff from Hospital Civil (Viejo) and her husband, Hugo, for coordinating the delivery of instruments and Alyssa Starter Art kits for this hospital.

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