Boonique Gifts Offers Unique Items, Personalized Service

November 18, 2014
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of My Boone Health magazine. 
Boonique Gifts is currently seeking volunteers for evening and weekend hours. If you’d like to volunteer, please visit or call 573.815.3472 weekdays, 8 am to 4:30 pm.

stories and photos by Jessica Park

The call came from California. Dee, the gift shop assistant who took the call, talked to a woman whose childhood friend was staying at Boone Hospital Center. The caller’s friend was not going to recover.

Dee knew this had to be a very special gift. The two women had grown up together; now, the friend in California needed to be at her friend’s side in spirit.

“Tell me a memory about the two of you growing up together,” she asked.

The caller told Dee that she and her friend would, as children, have fun reciting and acting out nursery rhymes. Dee immediately thought of an animated, talking Mother Goose doll sold in the shop. She retrieved one of the dolls and held it up to the receiver as its warm voice recited “Humpty Dumpty.”

The caller loved it and purchased the gift over the phone. And Mother Goose was delivered to her friend’s room.

“That customer later called back to tell me that her friend had let her know it was by far the best gift she’d ever received,” Dee says.

A New Home

Boonique Gifts opened in its new home in the lobby of the hospital’s new patient tower in June 2011. Across from the admissions desk, a curved wall of windows showcases a collection of colorful glass and glazed ceramic, fashionable scarves and handbags, a menagerie of plush animals, and new items being artfully arranged by Wanda, the gift shop’s coordinator.

Wanda also creates seasonal displays in a case just outside the shop. An assortment of black and gold Mizzou Tigers gifts will soon turn to a black and orange assemblage of Halloween ornaments.

“Holiday decorations are some of our best-selling items,” says Barb, manager of Boonique Gifts. “We like to have fun with sales around the holidays. Sometimes we’ll offer a discount for wearing a Halloween costume or singing a Christmas carol.”

In addition to a new location, the gift shop recently received a new name: Boonique Gifts, a portmanteau of Boone, boutique and unique. The gift shop staff members pride themselves on offering special items, from knickknacks to necklaces, not found in nearby stores.

“We have regular customers who come in from out of town to shop here for presents,” Barb says.

All sales at Boonique Gifts are tax-free and proceeds benefit the Boone Hospital Foundation. In addition to Barb, Wanda and Dee, the gift shop is staffed by a close-knit group of dedicated, upbeat volunteers, some of whom have worked in the hospital gift shop for decades.

“They’re loyal to Boone,” Wanda says. “This is their hospital. They’re not just here to put in time.”

Some shoppers aren’t looking for gifts but an experience. Visitors waiting on loved one wander in and browse. Hospital employees on break pop in for a pick-me-up snack.

“Sometimes,” Wanda says, “what people who come in here really want is a listening ear.”

Barb agrees. “I think of our shop as a respite.”

Personal Shoppers

“We offer a personal shopper approach,” Dee says. “If I know a patient has already received a similar gift, I’ll suggest something different. I’m happy to make recommendations. Flowers aren’t for everybody.”

Boonique Gifts offers custom gift baskets tailored for any patient. Any item in the store, including personal hygiene items and Sudoku puzzles, to name a few, can be included. For those still unable to decide, Boonique gift cards, customizable for any amount, are also available.

The gift shop also takes orders from and delivers items to patient rooms during shop hours on weekdays. Payments can be made over the phone with a credit or debit card or with cash upon delivery.

Patients have found these services helpful. Dee recalls another customer who called the gift shop: “A lady called me from her room and said, ‘I’m going to be here all day, and I’m bored. Do you have any magazines?’”

After learning that the patient loved celebrity magazines, Dee read her the shop’s extensive list of titles.

“Great,” the patient said. “I want them all. With three young kids at home, I rarely have time to catch up on gossip about the stars.”

“So we bundled up the magazines and ran them all up to her room. She was so happy, you would have thought we’d gone to the moon and back for her.

Boonique Gifts is located on the first floor near Boone Hospital Center’s Main Entrance. The shop is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Online orders may be placed 24 hours a day at or, for telephone orders, call 573-815-3525.

Foundation book sale — August 21-22

August 20, 2013

Join us Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 21-22, for our Boone Hospital Foundation book sale! We’ll have great books and unique gifts at fantastic prices.

The sale takes place in the Boone Hospital Center main lobby and benefits the work of our foundation, which helps improve the care at Boone Hospital.

In addition to books, the sale includes bargain and $5.99 jewelry selections. You can also enter to win Cardinals memorabilia.

We hope to see you at the book sale on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Thursday, Aug. 22, 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

reading book mother child

Improving the health of your community — 2013 Foundation Community Campaign

July 15, 2013

By Barb Danuser

Barb is the Executive Director of the Boone Hospital Foundation.

Dear Friends,

Barb Danuser

Barb Danuser

The Boone Hospital Foundation continues to grow and expand the services offered at Boone Hospital Center so that the best health care is available to you and your loved one when critical illness strikes.

The Foundation is the connection between philanthropic community members and Boone Hospital Center working to improve the education and health of the communities we serve.

Gifts to the Foundation enrich lives, save lives and transform patient care. Your gifts impact on our community and patients is immeasurable and is put into action by funding items such as:

Download our campaign brochure.

Download our campaign brochure.

• Supplies to provide free health screenings from our Mobile Health Unit. In 2012, this unit made stops in 42 outreach locations, providing screenings to over 1,100 community members.

• Help to support massage therapy to over 1,000 patients in our supportive care program.

• Sleep sacks given to all (2,100) babies born at Boone in 2012 to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

• Lifeline medical alert services provided to 20 qualifying seniors each month, making it safer to stay in their homes.

• The Kids on Track summer program. Nearly 1,100 youth enrolled in the 2013 program committing to run an intermittent marathon over the summer promoting healthy lifestyles for our communities’ youth.

We need your help to continue to build a healthier community and stronger hospital. Won’t you help us support Boone Hospital Center to continue to be a leader in our health care community?

Click here to download our brochure and learn more about giving opportunities.

Annual foundation jewelry sale begins Tuesday, May 7

May 6, 2013

jewelry saleJoin the Boone Hospital Foundation for the Masquerade $5 Jewelry Sale in the Boone Hospital main lobby from 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 7, through 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 9. The sale will be open 24-hours a day during that time!

Cash, checks, credit cards and payroll deduction will be accepted. Proceeds will benefit Boone Hospital Foundation.

For more information, contact the foundation at 573-815-2800.

Donation supports Boone Hospital’s work to provide comfort at end of life

April 4, 2013

The Boone Hospital Foundation has received a $20,000 donation in honor of the hospital’s Supportive Care service.

Foundation donation 2013

From left, Marlee Walz, director of patient care services; Barb Danuser, executive director of the Boone Hospital Foundation; Mandy Schmidt, palliative care nurse; Dorreen Rardin, Supportive Care coordinator; Dr. Michael Daly; John Bolton, manager of medical oncology.

Supportive Care provides a wide spectrum of services that promote comfort and healing during a patient’s hospital stay. Those services include: massage therapy, spa treatments, healing touch, music therapy and aroma therapy. In addition to these services, for patients facing the end of life, Supportive Care also provides comfort bags with a soft blanket, stuffed animal, journal, photo album and visitor log.

An anonymous mid-Missouri woman provided the donation in recognition of the caregivers who gave comfort to her husband during his final days. The gift will support Boone’s Supportive Care Program.

“Boone Hospital Center is blessed to have an outstanding Supportive Care program that works with a variety of patients across our many care units,” said Barbara Danuser, executive director of the Boone Hospital Foundation. “The donor was incredibly moved by the care provided to her husband before he passed away. Her gift will help bring that same level of comfort to future patients.”

Crafty fifth graders raise more than $1,100 for Intensive Care Nursery

February 8, 2013

A group of fifth grade students at Columbia’s Shepard Elementary School have raised $1,137 for Boone Hospital Center’s Intensive Care Nursery.

Money jarThe students spent dozens of hours making crafts and selling them to their peers before school this week. The hand-made items ranged in price from $1 bookmarks to $4 extra-large hair bows.

Emma Goodlet and Megan Pilant came up with the idea and were joined by 10 other girls in their grade. Emma, who made duct tape accessories, hair bows, wallets and bracelets said the response from their classmates was overwhelming.

“I sold out on the first day and I had to go home and make more,” she said.

The girls said it felt good to work to benefit others.

“I like doing this kind of stuff. And it’s fun, too,” said Megan, who made bows, headbands, wallets and pot holders.

Today was the last day of their sale. The girls had a table set up just inside the main entrance with their merchandise. Many students arrived at school with cash in hand and swarmed the table.


Barb Danuser, executive director of the Boone Hospital Foundation, watched as the students purchased the fashion accessories and other homemade items.

“This is wonderful, I’m so impressed with what they’ve done,” Danuser said.

The generous donation will help the Boone Hospital Foundation purchase items for the Intensive Care Nursery such as Giraffe beds, recliners for parents and infant SleepSacks.

Parents said they were proud of what their girls had accomplished.

Chris Marks said his daughter Madison spent much of her free time recently making earrings for the sale.

“I couldn’t even tell you how many hours,” he said. “Every minute she has free she is making them.”

Katie Goodlet, mother of Emma, said she was proud as well.

“It think it’s great. She has a big heart,” she said. “She said it’s her first step toward being president.”

Group shot

Respiratory Therapist shines light on genetic disease

November 26, 2012

Amber Behrendt was the MU Honorary Captain for the MU vs. Syracuse game on Nov. 17, 2012.

Amber Behrendt is a respiratory therapist at Boone Hospital who was surprised to learn about a genetic disease that caused irreparable damage to lungs, eventually leading to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, often called COPD.

She, along with her friend and Boone nurse Jennifer Wyatt, co-founded of a non-profit called Alpha’s Voice which provides free testing for the public and support for people who test positive for Alpha 1.

Wyatt’s uncle lost his life only six months after testing positive for Alpha 1. Behrendt and Wyatt were worried their colleagues did not have enough information to recommend testing or provide care to people who have the disease.

“When I first found out about it, I started testing people in my family and we found five carriers,” said Behrendt. “My grandfather passed away from COPD and by tracing the genetics back, we found out he was a carrier. It’s sad to me that I was not able to help him out.”

The pair traveled to conferences and read everything they could find to educate themselves. Now they work with Dr. Mohammad Jarbou, MD, and other respiratory therapists to provide support for patients who test positive.

Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, as it is officially known, is a genetic condition that affects the liver or the lungs. Alpha 1 is a protein that is mainly produced in the liver then secreted through the blood stream and goes to the lungs.

People who are born deficient of Alpha 1 don’t have enough protection for their lungs. During the course of many years the lungs deteriorate from smoking, irritants to the lungs, chemicals or pollution. The same protein can also back up into the liver and cause different problems such as jaundice.
“Most people don’t find out they have Alpha 1 until they see signs or symptoms,” said Behrendt. “By then you’ve already had so much damage done to the lungs that you don’t have as many choices along the lines of treatment.”

Since the disease is genetic, early detection is key to preventing lung and liver damage. Behrendt and Wyatt encourage people with COPD or a family history of lung disease to get tested. A test involves a simple finger-prick.

Treatments are available for people who test positive for Alpha 1. The type of treatment depends on the level of damage in the lungs and liver. Two of the options include blood infusion therapy and ultimately a lung or liver transplant.

Alpha’s Voice offers free testing with the help of Boone Hospital and other sponsors. If a person tests positive, Behrendt and Wyatt work with him or her to find a physician and other support.

“My nephew was four at the time he was diagnosed as a carrier,” Behrendt said. “I feel like we can offer him better choices and monitor him to see how he does and hopefully stay ahead of it.”

If you would like education or to get tested for Alpha 1, please contact Amber Behrendt at


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