The most meaningful gift I ever received, was a gift that I gave.
As a Board member for the “Child Life – Partners in Play” program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, I recently committed to a 5-year annual donation from The Adam Hunter Knizek Memorial Foundation, which is dedicated to the memory of my first born infant son who passed away in 1995.
The Child Life playroom and teenage lounges, are places where kids can get out of their scary, intimidating and clinical rooms of beeping sounds and flashing LED lights into cool spaces to play games, or just hang out and be a kid. The Child Life specialists funded by this program are highly trained to engage and demystify the medical procedures for the young.
The Child Life specialists are skilled in how to talk to the young patients, which ultimately facilitates the efficiency of medical procedures and quickens the recovery. The Child Life specialists also include the family and siblings so as to provide necessary grief counseling. None of these services are covered by any insurance program, and thus the donations that the program has received and was built upon, are committed to ensuring that this vital service grows in availability and stability in the coming years.
This program fills the much-needed service of having empathetic professionals support and play with the young patients as they encounter painful and scary treatments.
Many of these children are longer-term patients. The hospital actually becomes a significant new “home” to them. The tools utilized by the “Partners in Play” program, and the services offered, enable a kid to gain a semblance of “normalcy” to a process that is anything but.
I’ve been associated with Children’s Hospital for more than 20 years and am proud of the expanding services and facilities that they continue to offer to everyone in this city, regardless of their ability to pay. I’m also proud of the wide-ranging breadth of my fellow supporters – people from all over the city support this vital institution. We’ve all been touched in some way by someone we know or love, who has unfortunately availed themselves of the amazing services offered at CHLA. I personally donate a percentage of every sales commission to The Child Life.
It’s always an emotional challenge for my wife and I to return to the hospital – it does not inspire happy or comforting memories. Still, I am forever grateful to all the physicians, nurses, administrators and volunteers who spend their lives caring for all the sick children. The lessons I’ve learned and the courage I feel observing how these young people cope with the stress and uncertainty of their life-threatening illnesses is a gift that I cherish.
Consider supporting Child Life – Partners in Play. Please, click here to learn more.
Find more details about the benefits of Child Life services here.
Written by Craig Knizek, Director of the Estates Division at The Agency.