Nick's Top Ten List
Top Ten Moments of 2015 (so far
People have always said that Nick is an expert at entertaining himself. Unfortunately, during his multiple hospitalizations he was really able to perfect the art. When Nick learned in 2012 that a friend whom had always rallied around him, was diagnosed with cancer, he knew he was just the guy to help out. "I wanted to bring my friend all of the things I had liked the best and the things that were the most fun, said Nick "I also wanted him to know he was not alone."
Nick's Picks was born out of Nick's naturally giving and hopeful disposition. "I don't just deliver backpacks, I bring hope and I cheer people up." The first "care package" was in a Von's shopping bag and contained items that Nick had purchased with his allowance. Through partnership with generous sponsors and incredible donors (like you!) we have been able to transform these care packages into awesome lacrosse-inspired, Nick approved, backpacks filled with eleven awesome items.
Nick has hand selected and tested all the items in each backpack. Each item has a specific purpose, and while Nick is always researching new "picks" the core products in the backpacks are his go-to activity arsenal.
Each backpack contains:
A stuffed white seal, also known as the Seal of Comfort. Nick has always loved these adorable, soft friends. In fact Nick went into the operating room with one. Nick's love of Seals was born out of his support and adoption of real seals thru the World Wildlife Federation.
Glow in the dark basketball hoop.
This is great for exercise and to improve hand/eye coordination. It also helps to pass the time at night when the lights are out, and it fits perfectly over the cabinet across from the bed. I know exactly the optimal distance for it to work.
A Boogie Board (LED writing board).
Now personalized for Nick's Picks! This has been an important tool for Nick, and others. Not only can you play fun games such as tic-tac-toe or hangman or draw with it to express your creative side, Nick found it to be a valuable communication tool when he was on a ventilator. "After transplant I had a tube in to help me breath. I was able to talk to my family by writing on the Boogie Board. It made things less scary for me, knowing I could tell them things, communicate things to the doctors and answer questions. " Ryan Merlene and the folks at Boogie Board have been incredible to me; I even visited the Boogie Board plant in Ohio.
Because, as Nick puts it, "You need to laugh, even when you don't feel like it."
These feel great, they add some pizzazz.
Nick has a built a great relationship with the folks at Hoven Sunglasses, and they have helped make sure there is a pair of sunglasses in each backpack. "When you are inside, in ICU and/or isolation for a long time, your eyes forget how bright the sun can be. You really need sunglasses when you start to go outside again. The cooler the sunglasses, the better!"
UNO cards and Rubik's Twist.
These are great to have because you can play with friends or family when they come to visit. The Rubik's Twist can for innumerable shapes and provides hours of entertainment. It's perfect for when you have to leave your room to go for tests or treatment. It makes the time pass faster.
A copy of Unlikely Friendships, a book about unique animal friendships.
"I've always felt like reading was a good way to pass my time in the hospital. Sometimes you get tired, or your eyes get tired, so it's nice to have short stories and a book with such cool pictures in it.
A couple of the newer items for Nick's Picks include
The NO BUTTON. Nick chose this because of the belly laughs it received when he and his co-founder and sister Lexie tested it out. "Also, because Lexie and I could easily think of several times this would have come in handy with the doctors and hospital staff."
Nick is also planning to incorporate an art set into backpacks designated for girls. "Lexie, my awesome sister and partner in Nick's Picks, thought it would be a great idea. She has spent hours drawing and coloring while she's been at the hospital with me. We hope to have these in the backpacks this fall."
Nick Wallace Featured in Donate Life PSA
In April, Nick was honored to be featured in the Donate Life America Public Service Announcement (PSA) to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation. The PSA aired during April, National Donate Life Month, and Nick was featured in the campaign along with PGA Tour golfer and two time
heart transplant recipient Erik Compton and Los Angeles news anchor and kidney donor, Phillip Palmer.
"I was proud to be featured in this campaign that highlights how transplant recipients like myself ca
active, healthy lifestyles", said Nick.
"Playing Lacrosse after my transplant was one of my goals, and I want other transplant recipients to know what is possible!"
An Update on Nick's Picks
We continue to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from both our sponsors and generous donors. Nick's Picks continues to grow, and as of August 2015, we have donated 550 backpacks to hospitalized youth throughout California. Nick's Picks has recently added the Children's Hospital of Orange County and the Children's Hospital of South Bend, Indiana to the list of hospitals and medical facilities receiving the Nick's Picks backpacks. Nick is especially excited for this newest addition in South Bend, as it is the location of the University of Notre Dame, one of Nick's favorite places. He is a huge fan of the Notre Dame Lacrosse team, and he is honored to provide backpacks to the youth in this hospital. He cannot wait to personally deliver the backpacks to the kids at that hospital when he visits Notre Dame again next summer.
Nick and his partner (and most awesome sister) Lexie have big plans in store for Nick's Picks. They will be continuing to expand their reach of giving to make Nick's Picks a nationwide charity.
They will also continue to bring new and innovative "picks" to the backpacks.
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
Nick's Picks is a 501c3 charity established by liver transplant recipient Nick Wallace in 2012. It exists to support hospitalized children with serious, chronic illnesses and isolation.
The charity's focus is to provide backpacks loaded with the items Nick found most useful, fun and comforting to children hospitalized and often living in isolation - in an effort to raise their spirits and keep them engaged through activities. Through our efforts we also hope to offer a sense of comfort and support to these children and their families.
At Nick's Picks we value our sponsors and our donors - their time and generosity of spirit in supporting our mission - and the relationships we have built with these incredible companies and individuals. The contributions from our sponsors and our donors enable Nick's Picks to distribute backpacks through hospitals, medical centers and Ronald McDonald Houses throughout the country and provide help and hope to the youths and their families. Through their continued loyalty and support we will expand our giving and encourage others to be more socially aware.
Our greatest hope is to create an epidemic of giving, inspiring others to make a difference in the world around them, through caring, and assistance to young community members in need.
NICK'S RE-BIRTH DAY
On September 28, 2012, I received a life-saving liver transplant. I was 13 years old and my donor was a 16 year old girl. Since that time we have been averaging the two ages. I am now 16, and I am also 17 1/2. This works out great as my allowance got increased and we now celebrate an additional birthday; September 28th.
Mostly September 28th we celebrate not only my second chance at life, but also the wonderful family who made the decision to Donate Life.
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