A Sweet Surprise

When a fall left eight-year-old Will with critical injuries, he was rushed to Boston Medical Center. The week-long hospital stay that followed was made easier on him and his family thanks to BMC’s Child Life Program, which manages the stresses associated with hospitalization and illness. “We as Child Life Specialists strive to make an impact on the lives of kids and families by bringing out the strengths that they may not have known they had to get through a challenging situation, such a being hospitalized,” explains Child Life Manager, Molly Ann Duggan, MS, CCLS. From providing a Lion King pillowcase (Will had just appeared in the play) to making sure his younger sister felt at ease visiting the hospital, Will remembers how the Child Life team helped in his recovery. “They made me feel comfortable and like I was going to get better,” Will recalls. That type of response, Molly says, is exactly what she and her team aim to achieve. “Will is stronger today because he asked great questions and learned coping strategies here to get through a difficult time in his life,” she notes. “At times, Will did not realize how strong he was, and I am grateful that I was there to remind him.”

Will’s experience with the Child Life team, especially Molly, resonated with him. Following a full recovery, Will rallied his neighborhood friends together to raise money for the Child Life Program by selling lemonade. The lemonade stand was a hit and they raised more than $40, which would go on to help patients just like Will feel more comfortable during a hospital stay. “They did so much for me, and it makes me happy to do the same for them,” he adds.

When Molly received the email from Will’s mom explaining what he and his friends had done, she was thrilled. “Hearing this news is a great reminder that even in small amounts, impact can be made,” says Molly. “We are making a difference in the work that we are doing daily, just as Will and his friends did in raising money at the lemonade stand.”

This September, Molly and other members of the Child Life Team will be giving back, too, when they take on the Rodman Ride for Kids. “I truly believe that in order to fulfill the mission of this hospital that we all need to do our part,” Molly concludes. “Riding this year personally is a way of challenging myself to give back and it is a great bonus to know that all of the proceeds will go directly to positively impact the children and families! It has been truly great to come together as a team, extending our efforts to serve and empowering growth together.”