Easing Kids' Fears

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When Joshua Chambers was 3, he visited AdventHealth for Children for his first bone marrow biopsy. That's when Emily Onderick, a child life specialist in the pediatric outpatient procedures and sedation unit, asked him where he would go if he could go anywhere. His response: the moon.

Next thing he knew, Joshua was in his rocket (aka wheelchair) and to to the launch pad. His team of doctors and nurses traveled alongside with their arms stretched out like planes all the way from the fifth floor to the ground floor, where they did the procedure. Meanwhile, Joshua was laughing and pointing out imaginary planets the entire way.

While hooking him up to the monitors, they explained how all of this was needed for the moon trip, so he allowed it without a problem. They even counted down to blastoff, when anesthesia was given to him through an IV.

Joshua had been diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia and would need treatments three or four days a week, so a creative approach was key.

Hope In The Hospital
It's clear to see, Emily takes her role as a child life specialist seriously. Whether its stringing beads together, leading art activities or bringing in animals as part of the pet therapy program, the goal is to create a hope-filled environment.

There are times when Emily gets everyone involved, says Joshua's mother, Mina Chambers.

The nurses, the docs and us as well. She has made sea goggles out of pipe cleaners and moon helmets from glow sticks.

The physicians who treated Joshua, Fouad M. Hajjar, MD, the medical director of the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at AdventHealth Cancer Institute, and Dennis Borrero, MD, a pediatric hematology/oncology specialist, are equally attentive.

Not only were they saving Joshua's life with extraordinary clinical care but supporting him emotionally as well, says Mina. They get to know each patient, going above and beyond to ensure our families have a positive experience.

Now 5, Joshua comes back to the hospital just once a month. And his imagination? As active as ever.

We are beyond grateful for the entire Child Life Team, and Drs. Hajjar and Borrero and their team for making the difference in Joshua's journey, says Mina.

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