LINCOLN, Neb. Children with immune deficiency disorders often don’t get a chance to take advantage of large play spaces like the Lincoln Children’s Museum.
Monday’s Shining Star event gives children with immune system problems a chance to have a night of play in a safe environment.
For 21-month-old Esme a trip to the Children’s Museum is a rarity.
“They do it twice a year and we come and jump on it,” said Joseph Flores, Esme’s dad. “She doesn’t get to see this kind of stuff and she’s transfixed by it all.”
Esme was four months premature with a weakened immune system, spending 117 days in the NICU.
“She doesn’t get this opportunity very often because we have to be so safe with germs,” said Flores. “With preemies they expect them to have a weakened immune system for the first two years.”
She spends most of her time away from other children and in a safe, familiar place so the night out is something the family looks forward to for months.
“Especially with winter coming up were going to have to have her on lock down the whole winter. She doesn’t get to go anywhere so this is her opportunity to see some stuff,” said Flores. “This is only her second time at the Children’s Museum because we don’t let her around other kids really.”
In preparation for the event museum staff and volunteers clean every inch of the museum for hours on end to ensure that guests can enjoy a visit worry free.
“The cleaning process took from 9 a.m. til about 2:30 p.m. so it’s all day,” said Katie Cordova the event’s coordinator.
While they may have the museum to themselves, Esme’s family says the time they get to spend there means the world.
“We just wanna see all the stuff she wants to get into really and have an opportunity to see the Children’s Museum,” said Flores.
While the Shining Star event is twice a year, the Lincoln Children’s
Museum is hoping to include more events like this in the future.
They also host sensory nights for children with special needs.