Groton elementary student raises money for coronavirus patients

Adeline Cole paints and sells seashells to buy art supplies for Emerson Hospital

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Groton elementary school student Adeline Cole outside Emerson Hospital. She sold hand-painted shells to pay for art supplies to donate to coronavirus patients.

GROTON — Hospitals are still filling up with people who’ve contracted the coronavirus, facing the uncertainty of what will happen to them and how long they’ll be surrounded by doctors.

The hectic environment of a hospital might be scary to those people, only made worse by the sitting and waiting to find out what’s going to happen to them. A distraction could help make the time pass and could even help lift some spirits.

Sure enough, Adeline Cole managed to provide said distraction. The fourth grader at Florence Roche Elementary School donated a collection of art supplies to Emerson Hospital on Nov. 23.

She bought the art supplies with the money she raised by selling seashells she found and painted this summer. Though her mom, Chantal, is a nurse at Emerson’s labor and delivery department, Adeline understood that many COVID-19 patients need something to brighten their days.

“There are people in hospitals right now that are sick and are probably lonely right now,” she said. “I thought with the money I could cheer them up somehow while they recover. Art is probably one of the best activities to do because it takes a little bit and they have something to work on.”

Adeline’s work started around August when she and her family went up to their cottage in Maine. She said that she found some white seashells on a sandbar while her family was on a boat trip. Being familiar with them, she thought they looked like a unique canvas to do some painting.

Adeline ended up taking around 15 shells from the sandbar home with her that day and she even found more shells at another spot later in August. She then made flyers to send out to her family members saying she was selling custom-painted shells for $1, eventually earning around $80 from numerous orders and generous donations from her family.

Though it took her a couple of weeks to paint all the shells, she got it done through her own process.

“Some of the shells I did inside on the counter and some of them I did outside,” Adeline said. “I like to be focused.”

“She has siblings so she likes to do it when no one’s around bothering her,” Chantal chimed in with a chuckle.

While she doesn’t usually deal with coronavirus patients, Chantal said fellow Emerson nurses and doctors have seen an improvement on morale around the hospital.

“Things are different and everyday, things change,” she said. “I think the summer was nice because everything was status quo and we finally had our routine. I think we know what to do know and we handle it better and we’re all just really use to all of the different changes in protocol. The patients are used to it too, they understand a lot more than they did in April. We did it before and we know it’s coming again and we’re ready to handle it if we need to.”

Still, patients needed something to help occupy time between examinations and not having any outside visitors. So when Adeline told her mom about her idea to do a fundraiser for COVID-19 patients, Chantal contacted Emerson’s marketing department to see what specifically the money from the fundraiser could go to. It was eventually determined that the supplies would go to patients in Emerson’s Transitional Care Unit, where those can go if they’ve recovered from the virus but aren’t quite ready to go home.

“Patients spend a lot of time alone, so they thought this would be something for them to be able to go around and hand out different things for them to keep them busy,” she said.

The hospital gave Chantal and Adeline a list of supplies they could get for patients, including watercolor paints, colored pencils, crayons and others. With that list, Adeline got the supplies from the Dollar Tree and Target to deliver to the hospital last week.

“During this season of gratitude, all of us at Emerson Hospital are particularly grateful for the support of the community,” Leah Lesser, Emerson’s public relations manager, said.

“It felt really good and made me really happy that people really thought that it was a good idea,” Adeline said.