Imagine you are a seven-year-old, enjoying a typical childhood full of birthday parties, family events, and summer camps—until one day, you begin to feel tired, thirsty and nauseous. You are rushed to a cold, unwelcoming emergency room, only to be told that you will need to be transported to another hospital.
The moment you enter the ambulance, a nurse smiles and nestles a stuffed bear named Choco in your lap. For the first time in days, you feel like you can be a kid again.
This began Sarah Carey’s life-altering experience as a young CHOC patient—and, inspired by her care team, she is now a charge nurse at CHOC’s Cherese Mari Laulhere Mental Health Inpatient Center (MHIC), and a proud supporter of Associate Giving—where philanthropic support from CHOC associates helps give families access to services that they otherwise could not afford.
For Sarah, Associate Giving is a powerful way to give back to the hospital that gave her the care she needed to thrive despite a chronic illness, and fulfill a lifelong calling to give back.
A severe diagnosis leads to a second home
Sarah’s visit to the ER revealed she had diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life-threatening condition common in Type 1 diabetes. It was clear that Sarah needed specialized, pediatric care; she spent her first four days at CHOC in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), where she met her care team of nurses and doctors.
“Once I arrived at CHOC’s Emergency Department, the staff made me feel so welcome,” Sarah recounts. “I remember the sweetest nurse helped me feel safe and comfortable while I was in my most vulnerable state. She wasn’t making my diagnosis a big deal. After meeting such amazing nurses, I realized that I wanted to be one.”
When the opportunity arose to become a nurse at CHOC in late 2017, Sarah was drawn to a groundbreaking opportunity.
Two acts of giving back
“During my interview with the director of the Mental Health Inpatient Center (MHIC), I shared that I have the potential to go full circle from being a patient to becoming a nurse,” says Sarah, who joined CHOC shortly before the MHIC opened in early 2018 and became a primary charge nurse six months later.
Today, Sarah has her dream job, helping children at their lowest moments and following the example of the kind nurses who reassured her when she needed it most.
And by taking part in Associate Giving, Sarah’s generous spirit broadens and enriches the care CHOC provides across our health system. “I thought to myself, ‘what an easy and great way to help give back to the hospital, community and kids that we’re treating,’” Sarah says about Associate Giving. “I was all-in instantly. It’s just such an easy way to contribute.”
Philanthropic support from CHOC associates helps give families access to services that they otherwise could not afford.