When A Passion and A Career Come Together

Note: What follows is a blog I wrote for the Greenville Health System Office of Philanthropy and Partnership where I raise major gifts for our amazing Children’s Hospital. This is a little out of the ordinary for my blog, Seeking the Divine All the Time, yet it falls right in line with my daily spiritual quest. I am so very, very fortunate to work with the amazing caregivers who give selflessly, tirelessly to be of service to sick children in need. The little tiny part I play – encouraging philanthropic gifts -is (for me) the best job in the world. Thank you, Divine, and for letting me be a small Spark!

“No one stands so tall as when he or she stoops to help a child.”  This slightly altered, gender-diversified and beautiful truth is accredited to President Lincoln. I think of it daily as I work to raise philanthropic dollars to help our children at Greenville Health System Children’s Hospital in Greenville, South Carolina.

It reminds me also of the late Reverend Bennett Sims who observed “the human soul was built to give.”

And giving through clinical and supportive care to Children’s Hospital happens each day. With over 200 board certified physicians, hundreds of specialized clinicians, and still more who provide other ancillary care, Children’s Hospital is where we care for children, not as miniature adults, but as children.

For example, in our sedation clinic, children are prepared thoughtfully for mysterious procedures that are intimidating even for adults.  MRI’s and CT scans can be loud and lonely experiences. One of our child life specialists, with a chain of small, replica medical devices around her neck, explained how she uses these along with a special doll, to explain what will happen during the procedure. On the best of days, the child ends up not even needing sedation after her visit and, “Oh!” she laughed at the end of our conversation, “I am also a professional bubble blower!”  Another way to relieve anxiety.

Personally, I think we need adult life specialists at the health system.

Another example is our supportive care team which provide the vital infrastructure and medical care for children with chronic or complex medical conditions. They provide medical expertise to help parents filter through complicated decisions. They provide pastoral counseling in whatever spiritual (or not) belief system the patient and family holds.  And they go above and beyond to help with special needs such as transportation and extra care when parents are at work.

These folks give treasure, too. The $1 million gift of The Dr. William and Jean Schmidt Family was immediately matched by an anonymous community member to establish The Seed Fund For Advanced Pediatric Care.   This fund will be used to ensure that Children’s Hospital has the latest care throughout the future.  During the nearly 25 years as Medical Director of Children’s Hospital, we have witnessed through Dr. Schmidt the amazing things that happen when deep passion and a career intersect.

I have raised money mostly for hospitals since 1990 and often I am asked, “How do you do that? I cannot imagine asking people for money.”

To this, I say, it is simply an explanation of the excellent quality of our care and the importance of philanthropy to provide essentials not covered by hospital reimbursement for services such as child life specialists, pastoral care, social work and so much more.

After all, the human soul is built to give and we are never so deeply human as when we help a child.

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