Children are often overwhelmed by the procedures and emotions that accompany an overnight hospital stay or extended treatment. The Child Life Program at Advocate Children’s Hospital helps alleviate the stress of being in a hospital through therapeutic activities such as medical play, art lessons, pet therapy, role play, games and distractions.
Here are just a few examples of how your support helps children every day.
Ezichi needed surgery; she was anxious and afraid. Kourtni, her child life specialist at Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn, helped prepare her by empowering and teaching her how to be brave during scary times.
“One of my favorite toys is the medical kit,” said Kourtni. “When kids get to be the doctor, they gain control over the hospital environment. Ezichi and I talked about the anesthesia mask and practiced taking deep breaths together so she wouldn’t be afraid of it. Once we got in the operating room, it was amazing to see Ezichi make the connections by pointing to different things in the room she had seen in the toy kit.”
When Nicholas was diagnosed with a brain tumor, his parents were overwhelmed by fear. But the whole family found comfort through the Child Life Program at Advocate Children’s Hospital – Park Ridge.
“We were preparing for a terrifying surgery when Victoria first offered music therapy,” recalled Nicholas’s dad. “When Nicholas was awake, she had instruments for him to try. After surgeries and during crying fits, she was there with a soothing song and calming guitar. Seeing our son go from traumatized to joyful made us feel like the songs were there for us all exactly when we needed it.”
Needles can be scary. They can cause anxiety and pain – especially for children. But when Annabelle needed her first IV, her Advocate Children’s Hospital child life specialist, Jenny, was there to help.
Jenny taught Annabelle coping strategies and answered her questions in an age-appropriate way. They played with Play Doh and created a special holiday card as a distraction. Because of the generous support of donors, Annabelle’s experience was made less scary.
How you can help
These therapeutic activities would not be possible without the generosity of donors like you. There are several ways you can make a difference for kids like Ezichi, Nicholas and Annabelle.
- Make a monetary donation to support the Child Life Program.
- Purchase toys through our Target charity lists for our Oak Lawn, Park Ridge or Wilmette
- Drop off brand-new toy donations in person. Contact Amy Valenzio at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your drop-off.
Thank you for your support!