NORWOOD, N.J. — Books and music seem to have been the only things that relax 21-month-old Emmeline of Norwood.
The only problem is that the unit in the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where the baby spends much of her time, only has six books. The nearest library is a 10-minute walk away.
So, Emmeline's mom, Julie Krcmaric, has taken the matter into her own hands, and is raising money to build a library on the floor.
"Having the library there to sit in with Emmeline when she's bored or just needs something amusing will make a huge difference."
Krcmaric had raised more than $600 of her $1,000 goal on the YouCaring page she established for the cause. The funds will be matched 50% by Usborne Books and More to purchase reading material to help occupy Emmeline and the other patients.
Krcmaric says it will make all the difference.
She recalled one instance last October when she, her husband Chris and their baby were at CHOPE, and Emmeline was more restless than usual.
"Her grandmother took her out of the cirb and sat and read her a book," Krcmaric said. "Her whole demeanor changed.
"She's much more attentive and you can see her relax."
Emmeline has several medical issues, many that stem from a rare genetic disorder without a name, her mom explained.
She's had surgery twice this year already and is being admitted again on Tuesday. Krcmaric, her husband Chris and their daughter are at CHOP almost every week because Emmeline is followed by 15 teams.
She's not alone.
"Some of the kids are there for weeks or months at a time," Krcmaric said. "There's not a lot they can do... and they can't leave the unit.
"Their parents don't want to leave because their kids are so complex — it's hard to leave them."
Emmeline and the other children in the unit, some from Bergen County, will be in and out of CHOP — and eventually other hospitals — for the rest of their lives.
Krcmaric is hoping her contribution will make their stays that much easier and more enjoyable.
"You have to be positive, especially in times like this," she said. "You have to be positive to get through it."