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Triangle nurses become involved with pediatric nonprofit, The Monday Life

The Monday Life, a nonprofit working to enhance the environment of children's hospitals, has launched a new crowdsourcing website that fundraises money for nurses hoping to improve the environment of children's hospitals.

The site encourages nurses and child health professions to submit their ideas for Healing Campaigns aimed to brighten the experience of young patients in hospitals across the country. Their campaigns feature simple improvements such as the addition of iPads, teddy bears and art supplies in pediatric wards. The organization’s first campaign, an effort to bring movie night to children at the Duke Hospital, was funded within 24 hours.

“I can’t stress this enough, but it’s the simplest things that a lot of people take for granted that just transform the whole experience of being in the hospital,” McMahon said.

Since McMahon's sister and mother started volunteering at children's hospitals, he has been interested in the impact one person can have on a child's experience. He found motivation to start Monday Life during his stint as a student basketball manager at Duke. Throughout his four years with the team, he repeatedly heard men's basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski telling his players to “go for it,” both on the court and in their personal lives. After his grandfather passed away in 2009, McMahon decided it was his time to truly go for it and change his life and the lives of others, for the better.

His self-described “wake-up” moment translated to the Monday Life, a nonprofit run out of Chapel Hill featuring a staff of about 10 volunteers. The team asks supporters to donate a dollar every Monday to help bring light, art and color to children who need it most. Their recent efforts to utilize crowdsourcing to proliferate nurses’ ideas gives power to those who have had the most experience working with young patients.

“I’ve met with a lot of nurses and child life specialists and they have some incredible ideas,” McMahon said. “The process for them to get these things done is very long and they don’t have that kind of time but they do deserve to see their ideas become reality.”

By streamlining the process into a simple online campaign, Monday Life seeks to eliminate the need for grant proposals and bringing real change to hospitals quickly and efficiently.

Emma Johnson, a pediatric acute nurse practitioner master's candidate, has started two fundraisers through the Monday Life for the University of North Carolina Children's Hospital. During her time working in a pediatric cardiovascular intensive care unit before she moved to North Carolina, Johnson cared for patients who were confined to the hospital for months on end. Although she tried to make these children’s stays as comfortable as possible, the lack of resources in the pediatric center presented a distinct challenge. She then turned to Monday Life to fund her ideas in the Triangle.

Johnson created two Healing Campaigns—one to bring instruments and music therapy to children and the other to give teddy bears to children in the Cardiac Care Unit at UNC after they undergo heart surgery. The campaigns are currently 70 percent and 50 percent funded, respectively.

“The Monday Life team consists of a fabulous group of people who truly work together to bring so much love, joy and fun to hospitals across the nation.” Johnson said. “I have been so impressed with their leadership since I have started my campaigns.”

Johnson said she is hoping to continue using campaigns to bring smiles to all of her deserving patients.

“Many of these children have gone through more than we can ever imagine,” she said. “It is incredible to realize that some of my greatest heroes are 10 years old, 4 years old and even a few days old.”

McMahon’s younger sister Sarah, a senior at East Chapel Hill High School, is involved in the ongoing effort to include nurse’s ideas in the Monday Life’s fundraising. She is eager to continue bringing these specialists’ specific visions to hospitals across the country.

“I’m hoping to recruit more nurses to the company site and see what more ideas are—so the ideas are more personal to hospitals,” she said.

Students can look to Joey McMahon and his organization for inspiration, said Duke junior Kaushik Sahoo, who has worked on the Monday Life team for two years and is currently its head of technology.

“This biggest thing I think Duke students can learn from Joey McMahon is that everyone should not only pursue their passions, but use whatever resources they have available to better society,” Sahoo said.

McMahon himself has some words of advice for college students. He believes that undergraduates should both use their particular skill sets to solve pertinent social problems and learn to love Mondays.


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