flowersFlowers are powerful things. In an instant, they can brighten a room with their beautiful colors and fragrance — but even more importantly, they bring smiles to faces on even the gloomiest days.

I was able to experience the power of flowers first hand when I helped deliver 150 vases of blooms to patients and their moms at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Tampa, Fla., as part of the Mother’s Day VaseOff! Challenge.

Shriners Hospitals – Tampa is a 60-bed pediatric hospital, research and teaching center providing comprehensive medical, surgical and rehabilitative care to children with orthopaedic conditions. Shriners provides the highest quality care for children and their families without regard to race, color, creed, sex or sect, disability, national origin or ability of a patient or family to pay.

flowerssmilesWhen I arrived at the hospital, the owners of Bay Bouquet Floral Studio, Anthony Swick and J. Thomas, were unloading vase after vase of what were some of the most gorgeous arrangements that I’ve ever seen. Each bouquet was more stunning than the next, and no two were exactly alike!

The flowers were lined up on tables in the lobby for everyone to enjoy. Within minutes, the entire entrance lit up with a rainbow of floral hues — the sweet fragrance that filled the air hardly went unnoticed and, almost immediately, Shriners’ patients and staff came out to get a glimpse.

For me, that’s when the fun began.

One by one, young patients greeted the tables to select the floral arrangement of their choice to give to their moms or guardians. It was amazing to see their faces light up (both the adults and children) when they realized they got to keep the beautiful bouquets.

vaseoffflowersshrinersA few of the little ones were just coming out of therapy, though you wouldn’t have guessed it with the smiles on their faces. Watching all the caring volunteers and staff interact with these families was truly an amazing sight.

I felt a wonderful mix of emotions; happy from the joy that the flowers brought to everyone, thankful for Shriners Tampa who is able to help treat these children, and of course blessed for the health of my own child. It was a rewarding day, made entirely possible by the power of flowers!

Stefanie Fauquet is the owner and editor of the mom and lifestyle blog, For the past seven years, she has shared her adventures of life, food and travel — basically all of her favorite things — with readers near and far. Stefanie is mom to an 8-year-old daughter, and she resides with her family in the Tampa Bay area.