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Angels In Our Midst

Angels In Our Midst

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Angels In Our Midst (Madison Grace Wandall)

Updated: Tuesday, March 19 2013, 11:01 AM CDT
There are some things that are very difficult for parents to discuss with their children.

In her own little way, a young girl may have found a way to help open the door to a painful topic.

The healing begins with an Angel In Our Midst.

Madison Grace Wandall: "He died. Now, he's just in our heart."

In her heart is the only place five-year-old Madison Grace Wandall has ever known her father. Mark Wandall was killed by a red-light runner two weeks before she was born. Her mom found a way to keep his memory alive.

Melissa Wandall/Madison Grace's Mom: "The Mark Wandall Foundation that aids children in the nation that have had loss in their lives."

Madison Grace was at the heart of the foundation's mission. When it was time to give away some of the many stuffed animals that had given her something to hold onto, she told her mom where she wanted them to go.

Melissa: "Somebody that has bad dreams or somebody that's just sad."

Madison Grace: "And then, they will keep them and cuddle them, and they'll sleep with them."

When her personal collection had been distributed, fate brought Madison Grace and Melissa in touch with the woman who made special stuffed animals. They're special because they have a secret pocket to hold a child's feelings and dreams...they're "WishKeepers."

Ame Wauters/WishKeepers Creator: "What I realized was this wasn't just a toy for kids, it was a tool for parents and adults who want to connect with kids."

Jennifer Gilbert/Emerald Coast Hospice: "And it just opened up a wonderful communication line between the family to talk about these things that are hard to talk about, like death and dying."

The pre-printed phrases that come with the WishKeepers make it easy to begin to talk. Some hospice workers found value in phrases like "clappy happy," "cuddly kindness"...

Jennifer: "Silly, simple words that children can relate to."

Madison Grace: "The WishKeepers make you happy. They love you and they love to be cuddled with you."

Through the Mark Wandall Foundation and WishKeepers, Madison Grace has many more friends to share with children who are hurting. And each one keeps her close to the dad she never knew.

Melissa: "It brings her dad to life for her."

Madison Grace: "He keeps looking over me like every day."

Angels In Our Midst...brought to you by Sacred Heart Children's Hospital.Angels In Our Midst (Madison Grace Wandall)

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Washington Times