Child Life: Something for the whole family


Hailey and the Child Life Specialists
Hailey served as junior emcee and
connected with Child Life specialists 
who volunteered during the Banner
Children's Charity Golf Classic, held
recently at JW Marriott Desert
Ridge Wildfire Golf Club

After years of dealing with Cystic Fibrosis—30 hospitalizations, two weeks or more each time; too many medical procedures to count—16-year-old Hailey values her special relationship with a team of professionals who make all the difference in the world. Banner Thunderbird Medical Center’s Child Life specialists support Hailey, and her entire family, in ways that are both tangible and intangible.

“Child Life is always there. They make time to play games with me or keep me entertained if I’m alone,” Hailey says. “During every procedure I’ve had, they’ve been awesome. When I was faced with getting a port-a-cath implanted, Child Life really took the time to calm me down, then explain the whole process.”

The comfort this also brings to the rest of the family is priceless. Parents, for example, might not feel equipped to handle all aspects of complicated medical situations for their children, on top of needing to be at their own jobs or dealing with everyday life.

When her daughter Alaina was diagnosed with leukemia, Shelly was not only at a loss for knowledge of childhood cancer, but frightened and feeling powerless.

“It was Child Life who had already begun picking up the pieces and putting them back together,” Shelly explains. “They literally embraced us until we got our footing back. And, now, Child Life continues to accompany Alaina through her struggles—her surgeries, her bone marrow test and grueling chemotherapy.”

Child Life teams at Banner Thunderbird in Glendale, Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, and Diamond Children’s Medical Center in Tucson, create a positive experience for hospitalized children, their parents and siblings. Using a variety of tools and skills, the specialists work to reduce stress and anxiety through play, pre-operative teaching and even distraction and coping techniques, while also providing bereavement support.

Funded entirely by philanthropy, Banner’s Child Life programs and services are made possible through the generosity of donors. In April, proceeds from the Banner Children’s Charity Golf Classic benefitted all three Child Life programs throughout Arizona. If you, too, would like to support this invaluable resource, you can make an online gift now.