Care comes from many directions


Royce is a patient at Banner Thunderbird
For Royce and his family, care
came from many directions in the
pediatric wing at Banner Thunderbird.

Born with an extremely rare condition—Prune Belly Syndrome—Royce has already spent 148 days of his first 18 months admitted to Banner Thunderbird Medical Center. He has  celebrated many holidays in the hospital, including his first birthday.

“That can be hard on a young family,” says his mother, Holly. “But we celebrated those days anyway. We celebrated the Fourth of July, Halloween’s reverse trick or treat, a visit from Jolly Old St. Nick on Christmas, and we rang in the New Year. We celebrated the hard year we had made it through together and celebrated our hope for the future.”

Royce was also premature, spending his first 52 days in the neonatal intensive care unit at Banner Thunderbird.

“That time was an emotional roller coaster for our family, and the nurses and doctors were there for us every step of the way, teaching us how to take care of him, talking us down when we were ready to lose it, helping us grieve the parenthood we had pictured and walking us through what our reality would look like at home—but most of all, caring for our son as if he were their own family,” says Holly. “They were incredible.”

Since then, Royce has been in and out of the pediatric wing at Banner Thunderbird due to gastroparesis, which he was diagnosed with at about 6 months old.

“The care that we have received at Banner Thunderbird has been unmatched,” Holly explains. “Everyone from health aids and nurses, Child Life specialists, hospitalists, surgeons and specialists have been incredible and really taken the time to help us.”

Funded largely by charitable gifts, Banner Children’s Child Life programs create a positive experience for hospitalized children like Royce. Child Life specialists use a variety of tools and skills to reduce stress and anxiety, while promoting normal growth and development. Through play, pre-operative teaching and even distraction and coping techniques, these specialized—and, very special—professionals become invaluable resources for the entire family.

“On many occasions, parents or grandparents just need a break, take a walk, go to the cafeteria, or somebody to talk to,” says Wendy Pauker, Child Life Manager at Banner Thunderbird. “Child Life is always there for them—to listen and encourage.”

To everyone who has helped Royce in his journey so far, Holly says, “Thank you for impacting my son’s life. I know that he will make it farther than any of us can imagine.”