Melania Trump lends a hand to ill children, helping to craft special valentines

This is third year Trump has visited the Children's Inn in Maryland on Feb. 14.

February 14, 2020, 12:31 PM

It's Valentines Day, and first lady Melania Trump spent her morning with a group of ill children at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

The Children’s Inn is a non-profit that creates a free "home away from home" for children with critical health conditions.

PHOTO: First lady Melania Trump exchanges valentines for Valentine's Day as she visits with children at the Children's Inn at NIH in Bethesda, Md., Feb., 14, 2020.
First lady Melania Trump exchanges valentines for Valentine's Day as she visits with children at the Children's Inn at NIH in Bethesda, Md., Feb., 14, 2020.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Several of the children have rare genetic diseases including sickle cell anemia, giant axonal neuropathy and various other immunodeficiency diseases, according to the hospital spokeswoman.

Families stay at the NIH inn to participate in clinical research -- diving into the behavior and nature of living systems -- to try to reduce the burdens of illnesses and disabilities on children.

It is now the third year Trump has visited the inn on Feb. 14.

Trump wore red as she met with the children -- including some on bed rest -- and helped to craft special valentines.

PHOTO: First lady Melania Trump decorates cookies for Valentine's Day as she visits with children at The Children's Inn at NIH in Bethesda, Md., Feb. 14, 2020.
First lady Melania Trump decorates cookies for Valentine's Day as she visits with children at The Children's Inn at NIH in Bethesda, Md., Feb. 14, 2020.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

One child that was hooked up to oxygen tanks and several IVs, raised a small thin arm to wave at the first lady.

She was greeted by Jennie Lucca, the inn’s CEO, director and vice chair, and approximately 15 patients -- almost all under the age of 10.

The first lady spent her time seated at the tables adorned with pink and red -- helping to decorate the cut-out sugar cookies with icing, as the children showed her their heart decorations made of paper maché.

PHOTO: US First Lady Melania Trump gives a boy a hug during a Valentine's Day visit to kids at the Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., on Feb. 14, 2020.
US First Lady Melania Trump gives a boy a hug during a Valentine's Day visit to kids at the Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., on Feb. 14, 2020.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

She told the kids, "Stay strong, we will think of you and pray for you, you will be in my thoughts."

Just before leaving, Trump handed out her own red Valentine’s Day cards to all the children and addressed the staff.

"I’m so glad to be seeing the children feeling well ... thank you for all that you do and keeping strong," she told the staff and families. "This is a great place and have a great team to take care of them."

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