UM Children’s Hospital Patient Gives Back in a Big Way

Michelle Kaminaris, a kindergarten teacher at Hampstead Hill Academy in East Baltimore, has seen kids miss school for all kinds of reasons. Like most of us, she never expected her own child to miss school due to a serious illness. But when her daughter Eva (an eighth grader at Hampstead Hill Academy) started showing flu-like symptoms, a trip to the doctor confirmed that Eva would be missing school due to pneumonia.

From there, Eva had more tests and doctors found a tumor on her ovaries. The tumor was removed after an emergency surgery, but she still had to spend time recovering at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH). While she endured a slew of poking and prodding and scary medical diagnoses, it was the Child Life team and other skilled nurses at UMCH who made her hospital stay a positive experience.

Group Photo

Eva (fourth from left) and Hampstead Hill Academy’s Kiwanis Builders Club pose with their donation to UMCH

“We had unbelievably phenomenal care. I never had to leave my daughter,” Michelle said. “One of the nurses even gave up his lunch hour to take Eva to play and walk around.”

Post-discharge and feeling better, Eva was determined to give back to the place that took such great care of her. She started looking online for ways to help and found UMCH’s toy wish list.

She sought help from her school’s Kiwanis Builders Club, and recruited some of her friends and classmates to help. The club, seven members strong, started planning fundraisers, bake sales, art supply and Band-Aid drives, and a paint night.

Shannon Joslin Builders Club

Shannon Joslin, Child Life Manager, describes the Child Life Program to the Hampstead Hill Academy Kiwanis Builders Club

The students stayed after school one day to stretch the canvases for the paint night by hand and helped cook food for the event. Thirty-five families came out after school to support the club and raise money for the cause.

The club went shopping for items on the UMCH wish list with the money from the fundraisers. They picked out high-demand items like DVDs, video games, building block sets and card games, all which they personally delivered to the hospital.

As Eva heads to high school, she wants to ensure that this is not a one-time donation. Even if she can’t start the club at her new high school, she plans to keep in touch and continue giving back to UMCH. Michelle’s youngest child, inspired by Eva’s involvement and by UMCH’s great care, plans continue the family tradition and join the Hampstead Hill Builders Club next year.

Many thanks to the Hampstead Hill Academy’s Kiwanis Builders Club! Your continued support of the Children’s Hospital ensures we have the resources available to make every patient’s stay comfortable and fun.

Learn more about the Child Life Program and meet the team.

Interested in giving to the Children’s Hospital? Here’s how you can help.


“Terrified” Parents Grateful for Care, Concern & Compassion

By Matt Christopher

My 14-month-old son, Cameron [right, with me and my wife, Nikki], was seen in the University of Maryland Medical Center’s children’s hospital for a MRSA infection from Christmas night until January 4th. Being first-time parents, we were terrified.

Our night started out at Easton Hospital, with one of your crews picking him up and providing outstanding service the whole ride. We then were received into the children’s emergency department and were well taken care of. Then we were transferred to the PICU, where our level of care continued to awe us. Our nurse Davita took wonderful care of our son and us. My wife and I still talk about her concern and compassion for all of us.

The whole team in the children’s hospital was wonderful and words cannot completely describe how amazing the care we received there was. Everyone from the doctors, nurses, and even the cleaning staff was wonderful. The housekeeper, Maria, would see us and ask how he was doing. Davita checked on us even when we had moved wards. It was plain to see that everyone there considers it more than just a job.

As a business manager I am awed at the wonderful employees your institution has working there. Our last nurse’s assistant, Nikki, was able to relate to us and would ask us if we needed anything any time she saw us in the halls. Dr. Mary Boyd checked up on us constantly and became a quick friend. It’s easy to see why you are an award-winning hospital. You have exceeded expectations from myself and all of my family. I am still so amazed that not a day goes by that I don’t tell one of my customers about the experience that we had during our 11-day stay.

I still cannot believe the service we got while there. We were treated as if we were royalty. That being said, I saw every patient there being treated the same way. Even the receptionist in the PICU would ask us if we needed anything. The ENT surgeons would check in to see if we had any questions or if we needed anything. The thing is, everyone that asked us this meant it. You have my vote as the hospital of the decade. … For such a horrible time, the whole experience was made better by your wonderful staff.