Small gifts lift spirits of tiny Texas Children's Hospital patients

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- It's the little things that mean a lot. Tiny hair bows and bow ties are being delivered for the holidays to families in the Texas Children's NICU.

At first, Megan Birkel created the handmade accessories for her daughter. Eventually, that hobby turned into a business. Today, she's giving back to those who may not be home in time for Christmas.

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Volunteers passed out new teddy bears to sick children at Texas Children's Hospital.

"Just something to make it a little bit more normal for families to be able to have something festive for their kids, at a time they're not going to be able to have them home with them" Birkel said.

Born at 32 weeks and five days, Amy and Benjamin Shapley's triplets have been living in the NICU for three weeks now.

"We're hopeful that we'll be home for Christmas," Benjamin Shapley said.

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Child asks Santa for a new heart for his sick mom.

With two girls and one boy, their family definitely grew this year. Mom and Dad say the babies have been improving, making progress every day. Receiving the head bows and bow tie means a lot they say.

"They don't have that same experiences when their babies are born sick and they're in the hospital. So just something to make them look pretty and to allow mom to have an opportunity to dress her baby up," said Jenni Fiar with Texas Children's.

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A hospital cafeteria worker served up smiles to kids spending the holidays in the hospital.

6-week-old Evan Pryor may spend his Christmas in the NICU as well.

"Once he can completely bottle feed and have the feeding tube taken out, then we can go home," mother Tabetha Flowers said.

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When Madison was born, it was the beginning of a long and challenging journey for her and the family.

Evan also received a bow tie for the holidays. It's something mom truly appreciates.

"It's something you're not going to forget," Flowers said.

This is the first year she's doing this, but something she hopes to continue for years to come.

"They're so tiny, but you can tell they are strong and they're fighting. I think it's just amazing that they can receive the kind of care that they get here, " Birkel said.

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Golden retriever Elsa, the newest staff member at Texas Children's Hospital, is specially trained to interact with children battling illnesses.

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