its kind of her little escape: girl scoutsplayhouse helps child with heart transplant
EVERETT, Wash. — Play dates and playgrounds — they’re part of being a kid. But for one Everett 4-year old, they can be deadly.
Little Hannah Mae was born with a rare and often deadly condition that makes leaving her house incredibly dangerous. But a group of generous Girl Scouts have given the 4-year-old the gift of imagination in the form of a new playhouse.
Hannah is now in her element, all because of a tiny wooden playhouse with green trim, flower boxes, a side window for takeout orders, a toy kitchen, and a front door with a working doorbell.
The house is in Hannah’s fenced-in backyard, and her mother can see her play from every window of their Everett home.
Hannah hums while she cooks a plastic hamburger patty in a pot on her toy grill. She is kiddo-content, and oblivious at times to our KOMO camera.
I order the cheeseburger and watch, knowing that fast food joints, the playground, grocery shopping, and most public outings are something Hannah can only pretend to do.
“It’s ready!” Hannah says as she hands over two plastic bowls with a cheeseburger and pickles, just as I ordered it.
“It’s kind of her little escape. The first couple of days brought me to tears,” said Hannah’s mom, Jennifer Campbell.
Most days Hannah is confined to her home.
“She wants to do play dates, but we always have to be careful,” Campbell said.
Hannah can’t risk infection. She was born with a rare and often deadly condition called Diffuse Rhabdomyomatosis.
On rare occasions she does set up play dates and visits a neighborhood park, but hyper vigilant about germs and the health of other children.
Now her new playhouse brings the outside world to her.
“She is the only survivor with her condition,” said Campbell.
At just 4 months old, Hannah had a heart transplant. The anti-rejection drugs have compromised her immune system. She’ll be on them her entire life.
“To be in our home for so many years and to not really do the things that kids have been able to do, it’s so hard to see kids that don’t have an immune deficiencies be able to do all these things, and then there is Hannah,” Campbell.
It was other kids from Girl Scout Troop 44017 in Lake Stevens that not only thought of the playhouse, but built it for their Bronze Award service project.
“It’s nice to be kind,” said Girl Scout Audrey Johnson. “Hannah is cute and really fun to play with.”
The Troop learned about Hannah from the father of one of the Girl Scouts. They met Hannah and in got to work fundraising and planning.
The Girl Scouts raised money to buy all the parts and lots of toys to make the house a home. Earlier this month, with power tools in hand and lots of supervision, the girls built a house for Hannah.
“It’d be really hard not being able to play with my friends,” said Girl Scout Molly Rose.
With her playhouse buzzing and the kitchen open, Hannah returned the favor and made lunch for the girls. She served up plastic hotdogs, a chicken and toy peppers and mushrooms.
“To make her feel so special, for me as a mom and for my husband, it was such an amazing gift,” said Campbell. “She has this wonderful imagination where she is visiting these places we don’t always get to go to.”
Doctor’s didn’t think Hannah would make it to her first birthday. Last week she turned four.
Hannah will need another heart transplant, likely sometime in her early teens, said Campbell. She said Hannah’s immune system is getting stronger as she gets older.
Last week she went to a grocery store for the first time in her life.