A Place for Families Fighting Serious Illness to Play And Make Memories

Playing restaurant at the Playseum

Families facing a serious illness have multiple challenges ranging from how to get to appointments to how to best make the sick family member comfortable to paying for treatments and childcare. Although the challenges of living with a sick child or parent may seem endless, Gina Seebachan , owner of the Playseum in Bethesda, MD doesn't think that having fun as a family should be yet another challenge.

Ms. Gina, as she is known by the many young visitors to her large indoor playspace, knows first-hand how difficult it can be for family members facing tough medical situations to find a time and place to just play and enjoy being with one another. When families are consumed with the care of a child or parent it can be difficult to plan any activities in advance. It can also be hard for siblings to have a place where their parent can focus on them rather than a sick brother or sister.

Yet, after seeing her Mother and Aunt face serious illnesses Ms. Gina knows that nothing is more important than spending time together as a family and making as many memories as possible. Creating a space where families can drop-in anytime to have fun and enjoy being with one another is the reason Ms. Gina opened the Playseum in the first place.

A few weeks ago, Ms. Gina was struck by the importance of families playing together even under the hardest of circumstances when she saw an obviously sick baby come to the Playseum with her mother and three older siblings. The baby was not yet a year old but had already endured two open heart surgeries. The mother had dropped in to give her older children a chance to forget about their little sister's worries for a while and just have fun. When Ms. Gina heard the family's story she decided on the spot to give them a free six month membership to the Playseum so that they could come whenever they had a chance just to be kids and play. Ms. Gina then gave a second free membership to a family who had been regulars for years when she found out that their four year old son had been fighting kidney cancer.

Realizing how much their time at the Playseum together meant to these families who didn't often have opportunities to get out and have fun, Ms. Gina teamed up with the BremFoundation and MyBookBag.com to offer 300 families with a child or parent facing a serious illness free 6-month memberships.

To share your HOPEstory with Ms. Gina, email her with information about your family, including their names and ages; Who in your family is in the fight of his/her life? And what are they fighting? ; How could a free family membership bring HOPE to your family?; How has this illness affected your family the most?

Ms. Gina will add the names of those who need hope the most to a new Wall of Hope. Ms. Gina is looking forward to the Playseum filling up families making great memories in the coming months.