Pediatric Oncology Social Worker understands how hope heals
Seeing how hope heals
Andrea Dinardo’s heart and soul is in social work. For the past 28 years as a social worker, she has worked with traumatized children in multiple settings, most recently in pediatric oncology supporting the patients at Banner Children’s at Desert. As part of that support, she often refers them for wishes.
“Referring kids for wishes is like a celebration for these kids,” said Andrea. “They go through such hard times and a wish is the culmination of all they have endured, a celebration of their strength and bravery throughout their cancer journey”.
Andrea understands how that light can bring hope to her patients and their families as she lived it herself. Her daughter Bethany had a wish 15 years ago after being diagnosed with a critical illness.
“Wishes provide a positive experience for kids, from the beginning when they are considering all their options, and then the anticipation and finally the wish itself,” said Andrea. “When we know a child will qualify for a wish, we like to mention it right away because it’s exciting and good news. It can be an extra motivator and helps the kids emotionally and psychologically.”
Andrea has referred more than 70 kids for wishes and believes every single one had a positive effect.
“It is an honor to be alongside these families during their journey but is especially rewarding to help with Make-A-Wish, they are like the gold at the end of the rainbow,” she said. “We even created a ‘Make-A-Wish Wall’ with photos of our patients because wishes are a fun and exciting experience for the kids, and us as well.”
In Andrea’s experience, simply the idea of a wish can give kids something positive to focus on and help kids through their treatments.
“During treatment, we focus on the physical and vital aspects of surviving and thriving,” said Andrea. “Wishes are more about inspiration, motivation, empowerment – things our kids need and will never forget.”