“I kind of have a dual role. The role that we are assigned and the role that I actually do. Here at Child Life If I can put a smile on a child, that smile is going to extend to their parents – and that’s what my goal is. Even though they know that they’re going to get chemo or even if they know that things are not going to be the most wonderful while they are here, the playroom and the activities and all the different things that we do, supersede the bad. I’ve always said that the best part of my job is also the exact worst part about my job. I get to know the families and the kids so well because they’re here for a long time. You know, it takes a village to raise a kid, it takes the village to heal a kid. It’s not just one person who does it, you need support along the way and that’s what we do. The worst part is when we lose a child. That’s always a possibility. And you try not to get attached to kids – and you can try, but those rotten little kids just wiggle their way in until you realize ‘yep, they got me’. So, that’s the hardest part. I have four kids of my own, but I don’t believe that you have to have kids to do this job. It brings a whole different level of understanding. When you have once held one of your own baby in your arms and stood in someone else’s shoes where you’re waiting for the result of bone marrow LP to come back, you’ll never forget what it felt like to know there was a possibility to go the other way and your life would’ve been changed forever. Those moments in those shoes, changed my life forever because it brought to me an understanding of how terrifying Oncology really is. And that for the rest of your life even though I got to go this way, I will be aware that I could’ve gone the other way. Being a mother and holding a baby in your arms, you realize you’ll do anything – anything.”

 


“I find Oncology a challenge that requires you to be real – because if you’re not real, the parents will know it. They will know that you’re not genuine, they know that it’s just a job for you – and this isn’t a job. This is more than a job; it’s being part of the journey with a family. And it’s an honour every single day – to be able to be with a family, to help and to put a smile on a child’s face. They go through so much. I have a lot of respect for a lot of families. I was at a service last week. It wasn’t advertised but I knew about it. And it was one of the hardest funerals that I’ve been to. I attend the funerals simply because it gives me closure. I also want the parents to know how much their child meant to the people here; that they weren’t a number, they were a person, they were cared about, and respected for what they did. I found I never looked at a child as a diagnosis. I see the child-see what they can do – not what they can’t do. I’ve been there cutting hair, many many times, and crying with the child. There was a 12-year-old who didn’t want to cut her hair and I ended up being the one who cut her hair, simply because she said only I could do it. It was a ritual and we made those moments special. In many ways, it was a very tough job, but very rewarding.”

HUMANS OF OTTAWA 

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