Giving Hope to Kids at Cincinnati Children's

Ongoing Cincinnati Children's Fundraiser

Doggie's Friends

Update: An anonymous donor is matching new gifts up to $15,000!

    My name is Shane DiGiovanna, and I met my best friend when I was six months old, on Thanksgiving Day, 1998. When my aunt gave me Doggie, a white, brown, and tan stuffed animal that was then the size of my head, no one knew how important he would become. 

    I was born with severe Epidermolysis Bullosa, a rare genetic disorder that causes extremely fragile skin and lifelong complications. Every single day of my life, I have had to endure hours of extremely painful bandaging, and I’ve had over 150 surgeries. Doggie became my constant companion through it all, and our bond became something extraordinary. 

   The bond between child and stuffed animal is a special thing, but for me it became a lifeline. Doggie alone understood what I was going through. Doggie gave me endless amounts of love, just as I loved him. He was there for me always. This stuffed animal, filled with beans and stuffing, became my greatest source of emotional strength, enabling me to endure the unimaginable and still be a kid. Even more than 23 years later, Doggie has a special place in my heart, and still goes into every surgery with me. My body is declining, and Doggie is more than half made of patches now, but he still gives me just as much love and comfort as he did when I was a child. When I hold Doggie, I know that I’m okay, even when nothing is okay. As Winnie the Pooh once said, “sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart”.

   I created Doggie’s Friends because I want every child at Cincinnati Children's whose journey is similar to my own to have a companion who can give them as much strength and love as Doggie has for me. This is what I want to leave behind. Every donation brings us closer to achieving this dream. With your help, we can change the lives of so many kids, showing that it's the small things that truly have the biggest impact.

When a child receives one of Doggie’s Friends, I hope they get as much comfort as Doggie gave me. I hope that in every smile, in every hug and cuddle with their new stuffed animal, a piece of Doggie and I live on. 

Thank you for your support!

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