IN HONOR OF CARLIE; Wagon drive for Children’s is huge success

Published 11:17 am Thursday, December 27, 2018

After spending a lot of time in the hospital with their five-year-old daughter, Carlie, Kyle and Ashley Nolen of Red Level decided to give back to the hospital by donating wagons.

“She spent 221 days in the NICU and I would say the majority of that was probably at Children’s Hospital of Alabama. We wanted to be able to give an outreach to that hospital that did so much,” said Kyle Nolen, Carlie’s father.

Carlie was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis, cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus and uses a wheelchair. The family noticed that Children’s Hospital of Alabama desperately needed wagons, so they came up with the idea of Wagon’s for Carlie.

“The only hospitals that we have been to are Atlanta and Birmingham,” Nolen said. “And they were the ones that use the wagons. They use them for everything from hauling the kids down to surgery to pulling your luggage out of your car and to the room.”

Their initial goal of the fundraiser was to purchase 10 wagons. But last Friday the family hauled 29 wagons to Birmingham and still have 41 more to deliver.

“We just want to be able to give back,” Nolen said. “Carlie spent the first part of her life in that hospital so we have become accustomed to it, and you just see the small things that can make a difference on a child’s face up there. When you’re a kid up there and you see a wagon, it gives you something else to think about instead of your illness.”

Nolen said that when they dropped off the wagons, the hospital workers and patients were ecstatic.

“They were really ecstatic,” Nolen said. “They have a wagon room, and between us and a local fire department, we were able to fill up the room, so they were very excited.”

The kids and hospital workers aren’t the only ones who get excited about receiving the wagons; Nolen said that his daughter gets excited to give the wagons to them.

“In her own way, she is very excited about this project,” Nolen said. “You can see the glow on her face. I really think she understands the magnitude of this and what we are doing.”

Nolen hopes that the hospital was able to use the wagons this past weekend after being donated.

“They have a group of volunteers that come in once or twice a week to inspect the wagons and make sure they are sanitized,” Nolen said. “They were hoping to bring them in Saturday, so our hope and prayer was that by Saturday afternoon they would be in service. Hopefully right now there are some in service with Carlie’s name on the back of them.”

The wagons are hand decorated and painted with different things that the sponsors of the wagons want.

“The wagons come in a box first,” Nolen said. “Then we put them together, then we hand paint each one with a personal message that the sponsor of the wagon wants on there. Some businesses want their logo on it, some people want scripture, but we always make sure that we put ‘In Honor of Carlie’ on the back.”

Nolen said that they will continue collecting wagons as long as there is a need for them.

“As long as we feel the need to give, they will receive it,” Nolen said. “As I said, it’s not to benefit our family in any way, it’s to strictly benefit the hospital.”

For anyone interested in donating a wagon to Wagons for Charlie, they can contact, Zack Campbell at 334-453-1854, Jeanita Noles at 334-343-0456 or Nolen at 334-343-2438.