“These Presents are Unbelievable!”

A mother of a patient in the  University of Maryland Children’s Hospital said to her husband at the child’s bedside, “Honey, you’ve got to go down and see Snow Pile. These presents are unbelievable!”

Imagine spending Christmas in the hospital with your sick child. Perhaps you are separated from your other children who are at home and well, missing their sibling. One parent stays with the sick child, the other parent is at home with the healthy children. Parents feel torn as they try to care for their entire families in different locations.

This scenario is not uncommon during the holidays for parents at University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. So the Child Life team established Snow Pile, a surprise shopping experience for parents of inpatients.

Now in its third year, Snow Pile fills empty room after empty room with presents for children of all ages. Generous corporate and individual donors graciously give presents so that families may “shop” at Snow Pile during the holidays and get a much needed break from the stress of holding vigil at a sick child’s bedside. Snow Pile enables parents to do their Christmas shopping without having to leave the hospital.

Snow Pile is just one example of how the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital tries to treat the whole family by acknowledging the needs of not just the patients, but also the parents and siblings who are all affected when a child is sick. Each year, Snow Pile serves 30-40 families. Parents are surprised to receive an invitation to come to Snow Pile, and many are in disbelief that they can “shop” without limit, for free, and have the gifts wrapped for their child. Snow Pile even provides stockings and stuffers for siblings of patients. This year Panera Bread catered the event, providing goodies for parents to enjoy while their presents were wrapped.

A special husband and wife couple, Bob and Mandy, volunteered this year at Snow Pile, wrapping presents and talking with parents of patients. In 2010, they were on the receiving end of Snow Pile when their son was a patient. They were blown away by the unexpected joy they felt from participating in Snow Pile. Since then, they have volunteered at Snow Pile each year and have turned Christmas into an opportunity for their extended family to donate gifts to the Children’s Hospital instead of buying gifts for each other.

For information on how to donate gifts for children throughout the year, visit http://www.umm.edu/pediatrics/help.htm.

Super Staff Beats Super Storm — Every Time

The forecasts and predictions around Hurricane Sandy had much of the eastern third of the country braced for disaster. Baltimore saw heavy rains, wind and flooding. But the University of Maryland Medical Center didn’t skip a beat, thanks to the dedication of staff members who planned ahead or braved the elements to get to work. Their inspiration: hundreds of patients and colleagues were depending on them.

 We heard about staff taking extraordinary steps to be available for patients and to one another. If you have a story of your own, or you know of something that somebody else has done, drop us a line at communications@umm.edu.

 In the meantime, here are a few:

 From Karen E. Doyle, MBA, MS, RN, NEA-BC, vice president for nursing and operations at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center and for emergency nursing at UMMC:

“While I was making rounds yesterday [Oct. 29], I stopped and spoke to Darlene Currin, a housekeeping staff member in Shock Trauma working on 6 North.  I thanked her for being here, and told her that her work was really important.  She told me that she had just arrived (it was around 10:30 or 11:00 a.m.).  Darlene had walked all the way from East Baltimore to UMMC.  But, she knew she was needed and made the trek anyway.  Really unbelievable.  I was so inspired.”

 Currin (pictured above) said she doesn’t think she did anything that most of her colleagues wouldn’t do. “We all work here, we know it’s 24/7,” she said. On Monday morning, she was unable to get a taxi or sedan service (public transportation was shut down), so she decided to walk. It took her about 90 minutes.

 “I was soaked when I got here,” Currin said.

 From Monika Bauman, MS, RN, CEN, nurse manager for women’s and children’s ambulatory services:

“The hospital-based clinics officially closed on Tuesday due to the storm, but Ometriss Jeter, a scheduling and preauthorization coordinator who works in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, reported for duty Tuesday morning at about 6 a.m.  She rounded in all of the outpatient registration areas offering her services and making sure they had adequate staffing for the day. Once she determined all was well, she reported to our clinic, even though it was closed, to be sure we were ready for operations as usual for tomorrow [Wednesday].”

 From Karen Cossentino, MS, RN, CCRN, senior clinical nurse II and charge nurse in the Cardiac Care Unit:

“I was in charge in the Cardiac Care Unit on Monday, Oct. 29, and it was an exceptionally busy day. So I would like to thank all the staff for working together. Two nurses deserve an extra thank you, but they asked that I not use their names. One of them had a vacation scheduled this week but offered to work for a nurse who is a new mother who would not have been able to get home after work on Monday to her 3-month-old baby.  Another nurse from Professional Development came to the unit and asked if we needed any help. I immediately took her up on her offer and she stayed most of the day and went from room to room and nurse to nurse and offered her assistance.”

From Rehana Qayyumi, MLS (ASCP), medical lab scientist, Microbiology Laboratory:

After making up my mind to stay [at work during the storm] on a very busy Monday, I did not have time to think about where I would stay after my shift. Then, our wonderful Microbiology Technical Specialist Donna Cashara, MLS(ASCP), asked me what I was  going to do.  I just told her, ‘Yes, I’m staying somewhere,’ while very busy with my assigned work.  Anyway, she personally walked two blocks away to the Marriott [as phone calls were not helpful] and reserved a room.  She was like an angel for me when I finally reached the room around 7 p.m. and took a shower and my medicines and bowed my head down for my unexpected landing in full luxury. Did I deserve it? Yes, I think all of us who decided to pay for comfortable accommodations to be ready for the next busy day deserved it.  We deserve all the best to provide the best services. TeamWORK works!”

Rehana Qayyumi and Donna Cashara

Rehana Qayyumi and Donna Cashara

Cashara said it was tough to get a room at an affordable rate that night at the downtown hotels, but the Marriott finally came through. She said many other seasoned lab staff know when storms are coming, they need to look out for each other. She and another staff person led a department-wide effort to make sure the hospital had enough lab staff and that those employees had either safe passage home or a place to sleep. The hospital provides dorm-like accommodations, but some staff prefer to split the cost of a nearby hotel room.

From Cassandra Bembry, MLS ASCP, outreach customer service supervisor for the Clinical Pathology Laboratory:

Jamillah Johnson, my front-end coordinator of the Clinical Pathology Laboratory (a.k.a. “Accessioning”) volunteered late Sunday night to pick up more than 80 percent of our day-shift staff for Monday who rely solely on public transportation.  She also took these employees home and picked up our evening shift crew.  Jamillah has consistently shown a great deal of care and concern for our staff that is unparalleled, in my opinion, and acts of this nature are routine for her.” 

 From J.V. Nable, MD, NREMT-P, clinical instructor and chief resident in the Department of  Emergency Medicine:

“The [physicians in the] UniversityofMaryland Emergency Medicine Residency met the challenges posed by Hurricane Sandy head-on. Despite the incredibly inclement weather, residents continued to provide vital services at emergency departments and other hospital units throughout the region, including: UMMC, the Shock Trauma Center, the Baltimore VA Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, Bayview Medical Center, and Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. Because some residents have lengthy commutes, those who live near the medical facilities invited them to their homes for dry and safe shelter during the storm. Many residents volunteered to rearrange their schedules, taking extra shifts to cover for those stranded by the storm. As part of the backbone of clinical services at UMMC, emergency medicine residents demonstrated unwavering dedication throughout this unprecedented event.”

From Shawn Hendricks, MSN, RN, nurse manager for 10 East (Acute Medicine Telemetry Unit) and 11 East (Medicine Telemetry Unit):
 
During Hurricane Sandy, the dedicated staff on 10 & 11 East showed up ready to work, with smiles and a determination to provide excellent care despite the weather outside. I gave personal thanks to patient care technicians Theresa Hicks and Danielle Brown for coming to assist with the patients on 11 East after completing their care on 10 East, until help arrived from Monique Thomas, a student nurse who had been off duty but came in to help. And, also, to Jocelyn Campbell, one of our unit secretaries, who came in even when she wasn’t scheduled, to help with secretarial duties and other tasks on 11 East. Finally, a big “Thank you” to all my staff who stayed late or came early to ensure the shifts were covered! These staff members showed loyalty, teamwork, and caring when it was needed the most!

Mandatory Pulse Oximetry Screening for Newborns Takes Effect in Maryland

By Carissa M. Baker-Smith, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Pediatric Cardiologist, University of Maryland Children’s Heart Program

A quick, painless and non-invasive test to determine the amount of oxygen in a newborn baby’s blood is a first step in screening infants for congenital heart defects. Beginning September 1, 2012, hospitals in Maryland must administer the test to all newborns.

Congenital heart disease (CHD) occurs in approximately 8 of every 1,000 children.  Infants born with congenital heart disease have structural defects of the heart. Approximately 25% of all CHD cases are critical and require intervention during the infant’s first month of life. Interventions can include the administration of special medications or even surgery. Pulse oximetry may be helpful in improving the detection of critical CHD (CCHD).

On September 1, 2012, hospitals across Maryland begin mandatory pulse oximetry screening for all newborns. The screening must be done by a health professional before the infant is discharged and within 24 to 48 hours after birth. All hospitals in Maryland will be responsible for creating and implementing pulse oximetry screening protocols.

Children who “fail” pulse oximetry screening will undergo further evaluation, and their primary care providers will work closely with pediatric cardiologists to make the correct diagnosis. Failing the pulse oximetry test means oxygen saturation is lower than normal without another explanation, such as infection or lung disease.

What is pulse oximetry?

Pulse oximetry relies on the use of a non-invasive, painless method for detecting the amount of oxygen in the blood.  Probes are applied to the palm of the hand and the sole of the foot. The protocol selected by the State of Maryland for screening  is published in the Journal of Pediatrics (Pediatrics 2011; 128; e1259). Children with oxygen saturation less than 90% automatically test positive and fail screening.  Children with oxygen saturation greater than 95% test negative and pass screening. Children with oxygen saturation between 90% and 95% will undergo repeat testing and evaluation.

What is the potential impact of pulse oximetry screening?

We anticipate that pulse oximetry screening will enhance detection of CCHD. Data indicate that for every 1,000 children born in Maryland, 2.3 have CCHD.  Currently, between 60% and 70% of these infants are diagnosed through prenatal screening, leaving approximately 30% who are not yet diagnosed by the time they are born. Combined with physical examination, pulse oximetry is reported to improve sensitivity for detecting CHD by 20%.

What is the role of the Children’s Heart Program?

The University of Maryland Children’s Heart Program offers a comprehensive panel of services designed to accurately diagnose and effectively manage and treat children with CHD and CCHD.  Pediatric cardiologists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to assist with the diagnosis of CHD.  Through consultation and telemedicine services, the Children’s Heart Program is ready to assist surrounding providers and families with the evaluation of infants with suspected CCHD.

For more information on pulse oximetry, please contact the Children’s Heart Program at 410-328-4FIT (4348).

Dr. Baker-Smith is a member of the Maryland State Advisory Council’s Committee for CCHD and the Newborn Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease multi-institutional group.

A Mission to Ecuador for Pediatric Heart Surgeon

By Meghan Scalea

UMMC Communications Account Leader

Sunjay Kaushal, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor at UM School of Medicine and director of pediatric cardiac surgery at UMMC, recently returned from a medical mission to Ecuador, where he performed life-saving heart surgeries on nearly 20 children who would have died without surgery.

 

Dr. Kaushal, a father of two, is a huge advocate for kids. This medical mission to Guayaquil, Ecuador, was his fifth trip with the International Children’s Heart Foundation (ICHF), a group dedicated to providing supplies, training and surgical resources to care for underprivileged children with heart disease in dozens of countries around the world.

According to the ICHF, 1% of the world’s population is born with heart disease, only about one-third is diagnosed, and even fewer receive life-saving heart surgery. Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect in the world.

“There is a huge surplus of kids with congenital heart disease,” says Kaushal. “Traveling with this group allows me to provide free health care for children who wouldn’t otherwise be treated.”

Joining him in Ecuadorwas UMMC certified surgical technologist, Nicolette Dupuis, who supports Dr. Kaushal in his pediatric heart surgeries in the OR in Baltimore. This marked Dr. Kaushal and Ms. Dupuis’s third medical mission trip together. During their week inEcuador, they worked with cardiologists and intensivists from hospitals around theU.S. in the sparse operating rooms.

 “Part of our job while we were inEcuadorwas to teach the local medical professionals to do congenital heart surgeries like we do, but on a smaller level,” says Dr. Kaushal. “Our day began at 7:30 am, and we’d operate until 9:00 pm. We staffed the ICU 24/7 during the time we were there to make sure those children had the post-operative care they needed.”

Dr. Kaushal is the only board-certified congenital heart surgeon inMaryland, giving him a unique expertise in performing surgical procedures on babies just a few days old who were born with heart disease, children with congenital and acquired heart disease, and adults living with heart conditions they developed as babies, known as adult congenital heart disease.

Dr. Kaushal performs the most complex pediatric heart surgeries available today, including surgeries for babies with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Tetralogy of Fallot and ventricular septal defect, and those in need of pulmonary valve replacement. He is also preparing to open a clinical trial that will use a baby’s own stem cells to regenerate the underdeveloped portion of their heart caused by hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

We invite you to learn more about what Dr. Kaushal and the Children’s Heart Program at UMMC are doing for children within the Mid-Atlantic region.

Pediatric Leukemia Patient Raises Funds for Second Year in a Row

Brasen

Brasen VonMoose-Lemin

Editor’s Note: Brasen’s second fundraiser was a success –he raised $2,756 for the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital! See pictures of Brasen presenting the check to UMCH pediatric oncologist Dr. Teresa York.

My name is Brasen VonMoose-Lemin. I am a 7-year old who has won the battle with leukemia. I am planning my second fundraiser for my hospital, the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital on May 19. Last year I raised over $1880 and this year I’d like to raise even more than that (see my story from last year).

I plan to sell lemonade and other sweet treats with the help of my family members.

My plan is to raise money to help children who are fighting cancer. I will continue this journey every year until they find a cure and no child will have to suffer through the pain, hospitalization, chemo, spinal taps and so much more.

My fundraiser and raffle will take place on May 19th 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at my school parking lot, George T. Cromwell Elementary School at 525 Wellham Ave, Glen Burnie MD. The rain date will be May 20th.

A few local grocery stores will donate baked goods. In addition we will have several raffles including movie basket, Thirty-One basket, Scrapbook Basket, Longaberger, and more. I also plan to have some special characters arriving including balloon characters, and we’ll also offer face painting and glitter tattoos.

This year’s event is extra special to me since I have been chemo-free since November 2011. We are hoping you will come out and join my cause in the fight in helping children with cancer. Checks will be accepted and can be made payable to the UMMS Foundation.

For information regarding the fundraiser or the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, please contact Jennifer Summers at 410-328-9546 or jsummers@umm.edu
You can also visit the Children’s Hospital Web site at www.umm.edu/pediatrics.

How to Raise a Veggie-Eating Kid

By Faith Hicks, MS, RD, LD/N, CSP

Senior Clinical Dietitian

Editor’s Note: A version of this article appeared in The Baltimore Sun 03/07/12, in the Taste section and online.

How is it that some kids will eat whatever is put in front of them, while others live on hot dogs and chicken nuggets and have a phobia for vegetables, especially anything green?  As adults, we know that we ourselves probably should be eating more fruits and vegetables, and we would like to raise our kids to have healthier eating habits and a varied diet right from the start.  There are a number of ways parents and other adults can promote good eating habits from early childhood and throughout the teen years.

Make a regular “date night” – a family dinner date night, that is!

One of the best ways of promoting good eating habits in children is to make eating meals together a priority. This is something that often gets lost in the shuffle of soccer practice and scout meetings, but try to identify at least one or two nights a week to have dinner as a family.  Children who are raised having regular family meals generally consume more servings of fruits and vegetables and develop a liking for a wider variety.  They also tend to have a diet lower in fat and are less likely to become overweight than children from families who eat on the run.  From the start, toddlers mimic their parents’ eating habits.  So a parent who includes fruits and vegetables at mealtimes sets the example that these foods are tasty and that consuming them is the norm and is expected.

There are other important benefits of having meals as a family. Children whose families dine together regularly develop better language skills.  During dinner conversation, they are exposed to a larger vocabulary. They become adept at participating in a higher level conversation.  Another benefit of family meals extends into the teen years, teens that regularly have dinner with the family get better grades and are less likely to try drugs, tobacco, and alcohol.  It seems that mealtimes help foster a sense of connectedness within the family and when parents are tuned into their teens, teens are less tempted to dabble in risky behavior. 

Lighten up and don’t turn mealtime into a “pressure cooker”

Another way of fostering a varied diet is to offer new foods several times and without undue pressure.  It may take more than several times trying a new food for a toddler or preschooler to accept it, so don’t give up after the first try! Place a small portion of each food that you are having on your child’s plate.  When they see that you eat it, the expectation is set that they will like it, too.  Beware of trying too hard to persuade a child to eat because this might backfire! It can send the message that the food item is not very appealing.  For example, if a child is rewarded for eating green beans by getting a cookie, the parent sends a message that green beans are yucky.  The child may think “that must not taste very good if I have to be bribed with treat.”  Rather, make a light-hearted request for the child to just to try “just a bite.”

Involve kids in food shopping and preparation.

Children and teens are more interested in foods they have selected, prepared, or even grown at home.  Wander the produce section of the grocery store with your child and let him choose a new vegetable or fruit to try each week.  Buy a colorful, child-oriented cookbook to provide ideas for foods you can prepare together.  Cooking together provides an opportunity to learn other skills, such as fractions.  Even small children can be safely involved in cooking activities such as washing produce or putting toppings on a veggie pizza. Consider planting even a small garden and check out seed displays with your child. Seed companies sell kid-friendly vegetables in packets bearing very appealing pictures. Children who are drawn to miniature things may be fascinated by picking cherry tomatoes or pulling from the ground the baby carrots planted earlier in the spring. Brussels sprouts might be a little more fun to eat once you have seen how they seem to march in lines as they grow from the plant’s stem! 

In summary, the key to raising a “good eater” is having fun with food together, right from the start.

Snowpile: Santa Sets Up a Satellite Workshop at the UM Children’s Hospital

By Shannon Joslin, MS, CCLS

Child Life Manager
University of Maryland Children’s Hospital

Being in the hospital at any time is a challenge, but especially so for young patients during the holidays.  Children miss their family, friends and their traditional holiday activities.

Here at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH), it’s a little easier thanks to some generous people in the community — grateful families of current and former patients, companies, local businesses and other individuals who open their hearts and checkbooks to allow the Child Life Program to host the second annual Snowpile event for children and families in the hospital over the holidays.

The Child Life team sets up a toy workshop from Dec. 21 to Dec. 23 each year and invites parents of children who are in the hospital over the holiday to come shopping (for free) for their child.

In addition to the toys, every parent is able to “stuff a stocking” full of goodies for their child in the hospital as well as stockings for any siblings at home so they don’t feel left out while their brother or sister is hospitalized.

We have volunteer gift wrappers to help with wrapping the gifts and we have coffee, cookies and snacks for parents so they can take a moment for themselves in the midst of their child’s hospitalization.  Last year, we had Girl Scout cookies donated through a troop whose leader works at UMMC. This year, we got donated food and drinks from the Au Bon Pain restaurant in the hospital lobby and The Penn Restaurant nearby onPratt Street.

Parents either take their gifts with them if there’s a chance their child is being discharged before the 25th, or they leave them with our Child Life team for delivery on the 25th.  Parents who have participated have commented on how this was such a help, for two reasons — finances are usually tight and their time to go shopping is limited because they want to stay at the hospital with their child.

If you would like more information about the Child Life Program at UMCH or how to help support children and families in the hospital, please visit our Child Life Web site.

Prevention, Screening and Lifestyle Changes Could Reverse the Alarming Increase in Diabetes

 

By Catherine Brown, MS, RD, CDE
Diabetes Education Coordinator

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.  The incidence of diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate worldwide.  In theUnited States, 26 million people have diabetes.  That’s 8.3 percent of us. Chances are you know someone with diabetes.  Additionally, an estimated 79 million people have pre-diabetes, which means the sugar level in their blood is higher than normal and could lead to diabetes. 

Here are a few more statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that paint an even clearer picture of this enormous public health problem: 

  • Every 17 seconds, someone is diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Diabetes kills more people each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.
  • By 2050, according to some estimates, as many as 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes include extreme fatigue, blurry vision, frequent urination and increased thirst.  However, many people don’t experience any symptoms, or don’t have symptoms until their blood sugar levels are much too high.  To help determine if you are at risk for developing diabetes, take the risk test at http://www.diabetes.org/assets/pdfs/alert-day-2011/diabetes-risk-test-english.pdf. Discuss your results with your doctor.

The good news is that a major research study, called the Diabetes Prevention Program, showed that the more common type 2 diabetes can be prevented with lifestyle changes. Performing 150 minutes of exercise per week and reducing calorie and fat intake to lose 7 percent body weight was effective in preventing or delaying diabetes.  To learn more about this study, visit http://ndep.nih.gov/media/dpp_factsheet.pdf.

Diabetes is a chronic and costly disease that can lead to kidney disease, eye damage, nerve damage and heart disease if not well controlled.  People with diabetes need to adopt several behaviors, such as staying active, eating a healthy diet and monitoring their blood sugar.  Usually, they need a team of professionals to help manage the condition. The University of Maryland Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology offers physicians, nurse practitioners, diabetes educators, dietitians, pharmacists, podiatrists and psychiatrists to assist patients. It provides diabetes education classes to help patients better manage their diabetes.

 To learn more about our services or to make an appointment, please call 410-328-6584 or visit http://www.umm.edu/diabetes/index.htm. For more information about diabetes, check out the American Diabetes Association’s website at http://www.diabetes.org/.

Grateful Father Organizes Concert to Benefit University of Maryland Children’s Hospital

By Daniel Purdie and Cynthia McClain Purdie

Last year, our healthy, vibrant 2-year-old son Adam suddenly began having convulsive seizures. Another emergency facility thought they were caused by a fever or an allergic reaction, but the University of Maryland Medical Center soon ruled that out. They performed thorough exams and Adam spent several nights in the PICU while we wondered, worried, and waited by his side. We knew he was getting the best care possible, because we have trusted the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital with our family’s health care for more than a decade. But that didn’t mean we weren’t afraid and nervous about what was happening with our baby.

Drs. Kathleen Currey, Jack Gladstein and the entire team at the Pediatric Epilepsy Center were attentive and addressed all our concerns when they diagnosed Adam with epilepsy (seizure disorder).  At first, we were disappointed about the extent of his treatment — our healthy 2-year-old would suddenly need to take medications twice a day for at least a year.  We thought there was a cure! But we were relieved that he had not suffered any brain damage or injuries, which could have happened over time had we not caught the problem.  Now, our son is 3 and we are happy he is responding well to treatment and has not had a seizure in a long time.

We wanted to thank the team at UMMC for the special kind of care they give to children and families, and to raise awareness about epilepsy in our community. Daniel is a performer and the second closest thing to his heart after family is music. He decided a benefit concert was in order and called it ‘AFAC: Applause for a Cause, Baltimore.’  He put the plans in motion and gathered support from fellow regional and national artists who donated performances.

The concert was held on campus at the Community Colleges of Baltimore County, Catonsville on October 14, 2011 and we had a great time. We were able to raise some money and share information about the great team at the Children’s Hospital. Plans are underway for an AFAC Baltimore Web site and a spring fundraiser. We want to continue to support the UMCH Pediatric Epilepsy Program.

The Child Life Department Hosts a Back to School Carnival

By Megan Kikola, M.S., CCLS
Child Life Assistant

If you happened to take the rotunda elevators to the Children’s Hospital on Friday, August 12, you would have been greeted by a wonderland of music, characters, and bright colors. A world where the pediatric patients were not focused on pokes, IV pumps and tears; but on games, prizes and laughter.  This event was the “Back to School Carnival” hosted by the Child Life Department at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.

A primary goal of child life professionals is to normalize the hospital environment, while providing psychosocial support to patients and families. Most importantly, child life professionals promote self expression and play. Creating a world where kids can be kids is always a priority, which is how the carnival idea came to be.

The creative vision was that of Sandra Dean, one of the child life assistants. “It’s all for the kids,” Dean said of the event, “…anything to make their stay memorable.” Her imagination, coupled with the support of wonderful donors brought the carnival to life. Once the plan was in place, the child life team got to work creatively, rallied volunteers, and gained the support of the medical teams.

Some highlights of the event included a bounce house, water balloon pop, a DJ, snow cones, games and prizes. Book bags filled with school supplies were donated and distributed to patients. The happiness and excitement of the patients made all of the hard work worthwhile. When told the event was underway, a young patient stated “Yay! I’m so happy!” as she ran toward the festivities. A parent shared, “It was so fun, my kids could have stayed in the bounce house all day.”

The child life team is very grateful for the continued support of the hospital community and volunteers and looks forward to hosting more of these events.