Joan

“You can keep sleeping” I hear the resident whispered over me, but it’s too late. The cold stethoscope is sending shivers down my back, I can hear the beeps coming from the IV pump, and the lights overhead have already flashed in my eyes. This is an occurrence called pre-rounds, because who does not love being woken up by a 6:30am physical exam? This is not a scenario children should be accustom to yet too many are. At age 20 I know this reality all too well. While the rest of my friends are woken up by their alarm clocks and iPhones, I am woken up by early morning blood draws and pre-rounds. I am just one of the hundreds of patients at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who are woken up this way every year. And that is why I dance.

HootaThon raises money so even if a child is woken up by a doctor the rest of their day can be a little brighter. This is where the child life department comes in. In a hospital too often children have to grow up to fast, missing bits and pieces of their childhood along the way. The child life department helps make sure that every kid gets to be a kid. They plan activities for children who are stuck inpatient, provide art, music, and pet therapy, bring kids who aren’t allowed to leave their room fun toys to pass the time. During one of my long admissions last year I was really upset because I had to miss the first two weeks of classes. The childlife specialist on my floor hear this and asked me to help her with an activity for Celiac Education day as a distraction. When you are in the hospital it is the little things like having something to take your mind off missing class and not getting to see your friends yet that make all the difference. I dance for distractions.

I will continue to dance until no child is woken up by a cold stethoscope or for a blood draw. I will continue to dance until no child has to misses school or classes because they are stuck in a hospital room. At HootaThon we are dancing for a difference!

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My name is Amanda Elbassiouny and I am a junior marketing major here at Temple. I am here today because of the care I received at CHOP. My sophomore year of high school, I received a brain injury that changed my life forever. I missed 7 months of that year of high school. I could not get out of bed, which inevitably put an end to my soccer and lacrosse careers. I saw different neurologists, but they just prescribed a variety of medicines that made me feel even worse. It didn't seem that my well being and going back to my old self was a priority for these doctors. Then I was able to get a referral to CHOP and everything changed. My neurologist CARED. She was so concerned about getting me back to school full time and getting me back in shape. She was against putting me on multiple medications and really made sure we were doing the best we could all the time. She gave us her personal number and email to call with any problems, any time. To have a doctor who genuinely cares about you is rare and unique, but that's what CHOP is all about. It brings me to tears wondering if I could even be in college right now if it wasn't for Dr. Chatehumbe. I still see her about every three months to continue my care and manage my migraine condition. HootaThon helps people like me which is what truly makes it such a rewarding cause to be a part of!