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June 27, 2022

Evoking Christmases past

Hollister woman treats kids at Lucile Packard hospital with cozy
gifts
Kim Skow knows firsthand how hard it is to spend Christmas in
the hospital. The vibrant and articulate Hollister woman was born
with spina bifida, a birth defect of the spinal column, and has
been in and out of The Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo
Alto for much of her life.

I’ve had 20 surgeries in my 22 years of life,

Skow said.

My first surgery was when I was three hours old.

Hollister woman treats kids at Lucile Packard hospital with cozy gifts

Kim Skow knows firsthand how hard it is to spend Christmas in the hospital. The vibrant and articulate Hollister woman was born with spina bifida, a birth defect of the spinal column, and has been in and out of The Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto for much of her life.

“I’ve had 20 surgeries in my 22 years of life,” Skow said. “My first surgery was when I was three hours old.”

Now, as an adult, she has left behind the days of being a young, chronic inpatient. She’s independent, happy and very involved in her community. But she hasn’t forgotten that everyday there are many others spending much of their childhood within the corridors of the hospital. And this Christmas, she’s hoping to make their holiday a little bit brighter.

“I know exactly what they are going through,” Skow said, remembering longing to be a healthy kid on Christmas. “You think about what everyone gets to do.”

This week, Skow, her fiance Ben Moreland, and another member of the Gilroy Presbyterian Church delivered almost 200 stuffed animals to the children’s hospital. The plush creatures – including ostriches, elephants and zebras – were purchased with roughly $2,000 donated by friends, family and the church community.

“It’s always something I’ve thought I wanted to do,” Skow said. “If I can make just one child smile, then I’ve made a difference.”

The gentle nudge that she needed to get the ball rolling came in the form of a question from her church.

“What drives me? What do I feel strongly about?” Skow said she was asked about a year-and-a-half ago. Pondering the answer triggered memories of the hospital and her desire to help the children.

This will not be Skow and Moreland’s last act of altruism. Even though they are exhausted from this project, they are already brainstorming about the next one. As the couple talks about their other ideas, goodwill emanates from them.

Skow’s disability may affect her physical mobility, but it can’t touch her resilience, maturity and upbeat attitude.

“You grow up saying, ‘why me, why me?” said Skow about her disability. “Then, you can grow up and turn the negative into a positive.”

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