I want you to know how thankful I am for everything you did for my family and me. I don’t know where we would be today without you. Since William’s death, I have struggled to reconcile my faith with the death of my child. However, I can now clearly see God’s presence in William’s life and death through the amazing individuals we encountered in the NICU, especially you. We were blessed to meet you in the NICU and I believe you were meant to watch over and help my family. I hope you know that even though William was too sick for the doctors to save, you saved my family. Without you I don’t know how we would have explained William’s death to his siblings, Ben and Molly. I was beyond impressed with the manner in which you explained everything to Ben and Molly and helped them to make important memories with William. The guidance and encouragement you provided help Ben and Molly more than you know.
Not only did you help my children, but my entire family, including my parents, who also found comfort and peace in your words, ideas and suggestions. Of all the amazing people I encountered, you are the only one who was able to make memories with him, and bring dignity to his death. I am forever grateful for everything you did for William, my family and I. Thank you.
- Elizabeth’s words to Emily, a Certified Child Life Specialist
My 9-year-old daughter Grace stepped on a toothpick which impaled her foot an inch deep and broke off. She was hysterical when she, my 8 year old son, and I arrived in the ER. She was extremely anxious, very scared and in a great deal of pain. All of the caregivers we interacted with were kind and efficient, but I believe her experience was completely turned around by Emily from your team. She brought such a calming presence to the room. Her ability to smooth out, and bring to Grace's level, everything that the clinicians were telling her/me was amazing.
Grace was better prepared for surgery the following day because of her interaction with Emily too. She brought out the equipment and supplies she might see the following day, viewed the video with her and most importantly answered all of Grace's (many) questions in an informed, patient and soothing manner.
The Child Life Specialist that visited us in Day Surgery was very kind as well. She told us Emily had asked her to check up on Grace, which was another way Emily made Grace feel special.
- Lisa, mother to Grace
I met with the mother of a 7 year old child. Her son recently relapsed, after being off chemotherapy for a year. He was only 3 years old when he was first diagnosed, every facet of education and information at that time revolved around keeping him safe, free from infection and surrounded with activities to distract him. He was now in school and she approached me at the advice of the Advanced Practice Nurse, to talk about options integrating him back in school.
Child Life often provides an educational experience in a child’s school, talking to young children about what it means to have cancer and how they can help their classmate be successful in school. I shared some of the educational resources I had for young school-age children. A few moments into my explanation I noticed she was beginning to cry. I stopped to acknowledge how difficult this must be. She assured me she was okay, she then stated how beneficial my explanation was, stating, “when we went through this the first time I am not sure I stopped to think how he might be hearing all of this information, how he might process all of this at his young age. The way you just explained a cancer diagnosis and relapse… I actually understand more now.”
- Certified Child Life Specialist