Fourteen-year-old Emilee’s birthday trip to Busch Gardens is canceled. So is her band trip to Disney World. And she won’t be asking her mom to buy the long blue dress with the cool sleeves to wear to the school dance that won’t happen. Instead, she’s volunteering to help watch over the children of vital Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital employees working through a global pandemic.
In conference rooms converted to a daycare facility, Emilee is helping the hospital’s Child Life specialists care for employees’ children so they can care for their community’s sickest kids without worrying about their own.
“I like to be surrounded by people who help people,” she says. Service to others runs in the family. Emilee’s mom, Diane, is a registered nurse at the hospital. Her older brother, Sam, transports patients to ultrasound. “I’m so proud of her,” says Diane from the fifth floor at the hospital where she’s a clinical team leader.
Although she won’t be marching with her fellow band members from Madeira Beach Fundamental School, Emilee brought her flute to play for the kids. She jams briefly with music therapist Erin Seibert, M.A., MT-BC, keeping 18-month-old Jackson and 4-year-old Grayson occupied all day – a task few adults appreciate until they have to do it.
“I’m not scared by the coronavirus pandemic. But young people have a huge responsibility to keep it from spreading,” Emilee says. Tonight’s video chat with her best friend, Savanna, will be a long one.
Celebrating a first birthday in the hospital isn’t ideal, but the Johns Hopkins All Children’s staff helps “Sea Bass” and his family have a special day.
As the vaccine comes to the frontline workers, a world of possibilities begins to open up.
For Gavin, the hospital isn’t all about challenges and adversity. It’s about giving joy to others.
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