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Penny drive helps fill board game need for hospitals

Posted at 10:20 PM, Sep 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-23 01:43:57-04

When he grows up, Braeden Carberry hopes to be a professional baseball player, but for now, he’s just enjoying being eleven.

As the youngest of three boys, his naturally competitive nature helps as an infielder at second base, when he’s trying to beat his mom, Joleen, at board games and it helped him beat an illness that put him in the ICU for days during the pandemic.

Braeden never tested positive for COVID, he never even had symptoms, but Joleen says doctors told her Braeden beat COVID but got a severe case of Multisystem Inflammatory syndrome or MIC-S.

Joleen describes it as inflamed organs working overtime.

“Whenever I would do something, I was always tired. I would constantly throw up,” said Braeden.

The moment Braeden got to the hospital, He was admitted to intensive care for six days.

“That was the most trying and traumatic times of my life,” said Joleen.

Six days may not seem too long, but for an 11-year-old — it can feel like an eternity.

To pass the time the hospital brought in board games.

Braeden has since recovered. While in the hospital, Joleen learned anytime a young patient uses a game, it's typical hospital policy for that game to go home with the child if the game can’t be cleaned and sanitized property.

So that leaves a need for more board games at area hospitals.

Joleen looked to help change that.

She went to Florence Unified School District where she works and started a Penny Drive.

Each school competing to see who can raise the most money to buy board games.

Last year, nearly $5,000 was raised. That was enough to donate 400 games to two area hospitals. Joleen feels if laughter is the best medicine, board games can be the prescription.

“We were playing operation and laughing about it,” said Joleen.

The penny drive for this year wraps up on Friday. Joleen says they’re on pace to meet last year’s goal and possibly surpass it.

To donate to the Penny Drive, click here.