The books we have donated have helped children through surgeries and other events where children may need to be comforted. Although Books From Gabriel is a way to remember my son, I also know how much books mean to kids and parents waiting around in a hospital and have nothing else to do. —Amy Saville
One minute, he was watching a movie with his older brother. The next, he fell asleep and left this earth.
Gabriel Saville was only 18 months old when he passed away from unknown causes July 12, 2010. But his passing has started something that continues to have a lasting impact.
Books From Gabriel is a nonprofit organization that collects new and like-new books to be donated to pediatric sections of hospitals. The books are given to nurses, who use them in ways that are most needed, whether it's to comfort a patient undergoing surgery or be kept in the hospital for many patients to share.
Amy Saville, mother of Gabriel and founder of Books From Gabriel, talked about how the idea to give books to hospitals came about.
"When we were in the hospital with Gabriel, we didn't think about reading books to him," Saville said. "But I look back and wish there were some books available so we could have had the opportunity to read to him."
This is the third consecutive year Books From Gabriel has been collecting and donating books to hospitals. Books that have been donated in past years have benefited those who need them most, Amy Saville says.
"The books we have donated have helped children through surgeries and other events where children may need to be comforted," she said. "Although Books From Gabriel is a way to remember my son, I also know how much books mean to kids and parents waiting around in a hospital and have nothing else to do."
A label is placed in the books given to the hospitals with an address to Books From Gabriel's blog so patients and parents can be informed about Gabriel's story and the purpose behind the books. Also, an equal amount of books from different age groups are given to the hospitals so patients have a variety to choose from.
Saville and her family recently moved to Utah, so this will be the first year Books From Gabriel will be donating books to hospitals in the state.
"We're excited to be doing this in Utah this year," Amy Saville said. "We're in a larger area and plan on collecting and donating books each year for as long as we can."
This year's book drive will be from Dec. 3-Jan. 14. Locations to drop off books can be found on the Books From Gabriel blog. PayPal donations are also accepted on the blog. The money is used for buying new books in the age groups Books From Gabriel are in need of.
To learn more about Gabriel's story, please visit the organization's blog.
Kylie Lewis is an intern for the Deseret News where she writes for Mormon Times and other feature articles. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho, receiving a bachelor's degree in communications.