Grayslake woman strives to donate more ornaments despite continued pandemic
For Elizabeth "Lyzzi" Elliott, the founder of the nonprofit HOPE Ornaments, the holiday season usually begins in September, when the first batch of donated ornaments arrives at her Grayslake home.
Her organization gives holiday ornaments to hospital patients. But this year, Elliott, 37, who suffers from a rare blood pressure condition, spent part of September as a hospital patient herself.
Elliott's condition has caused a host of issues -- including not being able to feel her legs below the knees and being hard of hearing. It's also weakened her immune system. So when she caught a cold this fall, her kidneys started to fail.
But Elliott, who exudes positivity, said her stay at the hospital came at the perfect time because she knew that her annual season of giving could start as soon as she recovered.
"It gave me a push to keep fighting," Elliott said.
And since returning home she has spent nearly every night preparing ornaments for those spending the holidays in the hospital.
She said she will sit with a friend or her mom and finish 75 to 150 per night while watching TV or listening to Christmas music.
Though the pandemic made it impossible for Elliott to donate ornaments in person, she said her organization delivered more than 5,000 ornaments last year. She has set a goal of delivering 8,000 ornaments this year but said the organization is short right now.
"There are some big hospitals that we've done for the last 10 years and we just don't have any ornaments for," Elliott said.
The organization has set up a GoFundMe campaign at gofund.me/76708e1a.
Last year's campaign brought in $4,165, and this year, donors have contributed $2,925. All of the money goes toward buying ornaments, she said.
She also accepts newly purchased ornaments, which can be sent to her Grayslake home.
Those donations can be coordinated through the organization's Facebook page at facebook.com/hopeornaments.