During an intern event Monday, Make-A-Wish interns had the chance to tour PCH. We learned about the facility, how it operates and the connection between Make-A-Wish and the hospital that gives us many referrals.
I was awestruck by how the hospital actually looked. It was a combination of a hotel and museum. It was nothing like I was expecting. As nice as it was, I couldn’t help but try to think like a patient during the tour. This is where I go when I need to do this. When I want to go outside, I go to the courtyard. I go to school in this classroom. It was moving to see everything that way: the chapel, the soundproof “Peace Room” and the entrance to the surgery center, just to name a few spots.
My favorite part of the tour (that impacted me the most) was visiting The Emily Center, an on-site library that checks out health-related literature to children and parents. I was thrilled to see that the library was bilingual! I love any library of any kind, so I was trying to soak everything in … but something hit me when the tour guide was talking about all the parents that read materials there.
Their child has been diagnosed with an illness and they are reading to learn about what is going on and what lies ahead.
I could only imagine how overwhelming that must be. Then I started to think about wish kids and how happy they are once they hear the news that their wish will be granted. To them, it is more than a vacation, experience or a present. These children are given a way out. Illness has taken their childhood and time – and they are given that back. Wish kids can enjoy the moment with their families without hospitals, doctors or what-if questions. For this amount of time, they are free to be children.
If wish kids do return to the hospital after a wish, they are happier and often more willing to face their treatments. That helps everyone – the children, their families, the medical professionals.
If anything, the Phoenix Children’s Hospital tour taught me about how valuable time is, and gave me a renewed perspective to appreciate the small things in life, such as being able to leave once entering. The hospital was phenomenal; I could see why they were awarded the way that they were. I am so proud to be a part of Make-A-Wish and give children the hope, strength and joy that they have been waiting for – the experience of a lifetime outside of four walls.