Yesterday I watched the new ad campaign released by Sick Kids here in Toronto. I watched it three times. The first two times I watched it I had goosebumps and felt a ton of emotions, the third time I watched it, I cried.
Hospitalization can be so intensely scary – for anyone – but as a child, it can be traumatizing. Whether a child is going to the hospital for a routine exam, chemotherapy, surgery, or to say goodbye to a loved one, the hospital is a scary and sometimes unwelcoming and uncomfortable space. The video advertisement that Sick Kids released is powerful and most importantly, honest. It shows the REAL battles that REAL kids and their families face every single day. Of course, there’s a fun and creative twist to it, but if you really look at it, and really pay attention to it, it’s real.
Being seriously ill as a child changes your entire life in one way or another – it’s practically inevitable. But the hospital experience doesn’t have to be entirely negative, this is why child life is so important. Child life specialists let them be little no matter what – child life specialists accommodate for things like IV poles, wheelchairs, tubes in all sorts of places, rods, pouches, missing limbs, paralysis, and even unconsciousness. We work with all patients no matter what their diagnosis or ability to participate in play may be.
Being confined to a wheelchair or strapped to an IV does not mean you cannot colour, paint, or build Lego.
Paralysis does not mean I cannot read to you, watch shows, or play games with you.
A missing leg does not mean we cannot play catch or sing songs.
Being in the hospital does not mean you get to stop being a kid.