Honoring the Unsung Heroes in Pediatric Healthcare

By Laurie Strongin, Founder and CEO, Hope for Henry Foundation

As March begins, we at Hope for Henry Foundation are filled with gratitude and admiration for the child life specialists who play a vital role in the lives and recoveries of hospitalized children nationwide. National Child Life Month presents an opportunity to reflect on the invaluable support and care these heroes provide, both in times of crisis and in the midst of everyday challenges.

The impact child life specialists have hits close to home. During my son Henry’s courageous battle with Fanconi anemia and subsequent bone marrow transplant, these compassionate professionals became beacons of comfort and companionship amidst the clinical confines of the hospital. Their unwavering dedication and expertise helped Henry navigate the complexities of his treatment with resilience and courage.

Child life specialists possess a unique ability to ease the fears and anxieties of young patients, transforming sterile hospital rooms into spaces of comfort. Whether through creative play, therapeutic distractions, or simply lending a listening ear, they cultivate a sense of normalcy and empowerment for children facing medical challenges.

At Hope for Henry, we witness firsthand the profound impact of child life specialists every day. Our Super Rewards for Super Kids pediatric patient incentive program relies on child life specialists on the frontline to help kids successfully navigate tough medical procedures and to reward them for their accomplishments. The result? Improved adherence, a sense of achievement, and a vastly better patient experience.

Our program empowers children to face medical procedures with bravery and confidence by incorporating principles of behavioral economics into pediatric care. Through a combination of education, coping strategies, and nudges, child life specialists facilitate a positive and rewarding healthcare journey for children and their families.

As we honor National Child Life Month, I hope you’ll join me in expressing my deepest appreciation for the tireless dedication of child life specialists who make a difference in the lives of hospitalized children every day. Their unwavering commitment serves as a beacon of hope for children and families when they need it most.

HOPE FOR HENRY’s Roaring 20th!
Honoring Lindsay and Drew Karr.