“You already know my name and birthday,” the little boy giggles.
Vanessa Vannozzi agrees as she sets down his tray. Today, it’s grilled cheese and French fries. The kids love that. But it is hospital policy to get identification every time food is delivered from Hospitality so no child gets the wrong meal. Entire computer programs are set up to ensure food safety at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
Precautions keep sick children safe, especially in hematology/oncology.
This 7-year-old knows what he likes for lunch and for his hobbies. Drawing is his favorite. So is Vanessa. He likes her smile, and he always asks her to come back and deliver his food.
Vanessa reads off his order to make sure it is correct. Protocol.
He is currently all alone and so pleased to see her that she sits for a moment with him, and they watch Princess Diaries together.
For this visit he is inpatient for a week, but Vanessa knows she will see him again and they will become great friends. Cancer treatments can last a year or more.
More than enough time to memorize names, birthdays and favorite movies.
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.
The holidays she has altered to care for kids are too many to count, but as she retires, she leaves much for patients and colleagues to be thankful.
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