My name is Perry Hingsbergen, and I am a junior at the Latin School of Chicago and the founder of Perry's Plushies for Pediatrics. I have been fencing and playing soccer for as long as I can remember. In the summer of 2021, I sustained serious injuries to my knee playing soccer. I underwent knee reconstructive surgery and could not play sports for over a year.
Before my surgery, laying in my hospital bed, I was terrified and in excruciating pain. Then my mother pulled out Mr. Lemur, my childhood meerkat plushy, from her purse. I immediately felt calmer to have my old friend by my side.
Months later, I shadowed my surgeon, and I met children who were going through similar experiences to mine. These kids were suffering, but they did not have a plushy to ease their pain. I wanted to help these kids, so I founded this non-profit. Mr. Lemur is the symbol for Perry’s Plushies for Pediatrics because he represents my ultimate goal: providing hospitalized children with comfort and joy through a special plush friend.
La Rabida Children's Hospital
Perry's Plushies for Pediatrics is partnered with La Rabida Children's Hospital. La Rabida is located in Chicago's South Side and serves children with long-term medical conditions and disabilities as well as victims of child abuse and gun trauma. Most of the children are hospitalized for long periods of time, and their families cannot afford to stay with them. All kids can come to La Rabida regardless of their financial situation, and 90% of patients are insured through Medicaid.
La Rabida receives fewer donations than more well-known children's hospitals. My organization will provide these children with plushies, which I will give to them in person. Perry's Plushies knows every kid deserves a friend.