ST. LOUIS — At Fontbonne University, Tamar Adler is designing her new destiny.
"I love studying fashion and I absolutely love Fontbonne," Adler said.
The 22-year-old is majoring in fashion merchandising but as she gets closer to graduation, she's decided to walk down a different runway.
Her life changed two years ago when her younger brother Avi, who was out on a bike ride, was hit by a truck.
"When we got there, Avi was actually underneath a delivery truck. He'd been hit by a delivery truck that decided to reverse," recalled his mom Aviva Raskas.
Avi was rushed to St. Louis Children's Hospital. A panicked Tamar wanted to see him but because of the pandemic, she wasn't allowed in. Hours later, she finally heard from her parents.
"And I said to Tamar, we met this incredible person and she changed the day for us," Raskas said.
The person who changed the day was a child life specialist like Jenny Brandt.
"It can be a scary place inside the hospital," Brandt said. "And we help children learn ways to manage their anxiety or their fears."
A clinically trained child life specialist might use crafts or play or even just conversation to help young people cope.
"She came into Avi's room," Adler said. "She calmed him down and she started talking about what was coming up in his life and where he was going to college."
Avi had a concussion and some broken bones but was able to pretty much walk away from the accident. Tamar however, couldn't walk away.
For the last two years, she's been using the creativity that got her interested in fashion, to tailor special gifts for kids in the hospital. She packages individual craft bags with messages of hope inside.
For kids like Rynlee Taylor, who is awaiting a bone marrow transplant, the crafts have been a nice distraction.
"She loves doing crafts, "explains her mom Tenessa Taylor. "So anything to keep her busy while having a long day here is great!"
To date, Tamar has donated more than 3,000 craft bags for kids like Rynlee.
And she started her own charity called Cheery Charlie, named after her adorable dog Charlie.
"My plan is now to actually go to graduate school to become a child life specialist," said Adler. "I was recently accepted to Missouri State."
"It touches me tremendously," said Brandt. "To know that there are people who want to come up into this profession will keep us going strong long into the future."
She just wanted to say thank you for taking care of her brother. And now kids in the hospital are thanking her.
"It makes me feel so good," said Adler with a smile.
Tamar Adler shows us all, that giving back, never goes out of style.
"I'm incredibly proud," said Raskas.
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