Lily Pads—One Kids Legacy to Help Hospitalized Children

Being in the hospital is stressful, exhausting, boring and to be honest—scary. Especially if you are a child. No child wants to be hospitalized and spend days looking at four walls.

Maybe the child could go to the playroom, play a game or even go for a while. But what happens if the child is too weak to even take a walk around the unit or visit the playroom?

Nick Konkler had spent his entire life in and out of the hospital. At the age of four he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and then later Leukemia. As he spent time in the hospital, an IV pole was with him every step of the way…

“You are connected to this pole 24/7, so if you have to get up to do anything, the pole goes with you,” Nick’s mom, Christina told Today (source from Today Show).

During one of his visits to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Nick observed a little girl trying to walk with her pole, but she was too weak to do so. That was when the lightbulb went off.

Nick’s idea was to build a “lily pad” for the IV pole. “lily pads” are a skateboard like object that attaches to the base of the IV pole. This allows patients to get around the hospital easier. They can sit on the board while someone pushes them or the child can walk next to their pole and ride when they become tired.

These boards also add a sense of normally to the child’s life. By having the opportunity to “skate” through the halls of the hospital, and to have their favorite character with them makes the child feel more at ease during their stay.

lily pad pic



However, before Nick could see his idea come to life, he passed away in February of 2015. After his death, many of the students at his high school came together one Saturday to help finish the project Nick thought so much of. These students helped build Nick’s legacy to the many children of Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

Eventually the “lily pads” were complete and delivered to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital; where children welcomed their new ride with laughter and smiles. Now children could ride in style down the hallways of the hospital.

Happy Child Life Month! Until next time!


March is Child Life Month…. How Child Life Students Can Take Part!



Child Life Month pic.

Only 500!? Try more along the lines of 800 maybe more!


Each month it seems like there is always some sort of awareness. American Heart Month, Mental Health Month, breast cancer awareness month and so many others! The list is never ending. You name it and there is probably a day, week or month dedicated to it (literally, I have even seen something for national bubble week…this goes with CLM, but still…weird).

With that said, there is a month dedicated to the amazing field known as Child Life!  Child Life Specialist dedicate their careers to helping children understand their medical conditions, medical procedures, and they provide age appropriate actives, use words that children can comprehend and makes sure children are able to cope effectively during their hospital stay. A Child Life Specialist notices the smallest of things and makes it their top priority.

Last year, I talked about Child Life Month and how the healthcare team (and even the CL team) could partake in this month-long event! (URL:

This month I will be talking about Child Life Month from a student’s point of view. As most of you know, I will be starting my child life internship in April (32 days!) so therefore, I won’t be taking part in Child Life month at my hospital, but I can still take part as a student.

How can a student do that you may be asking…

  1. Repost any article, picture or video talking about child life month (or even child life in general). (my favorite CLM video!)
  1. Volunteer with children (it can be sick, healthy or special needs). i.e. local children’s hospital, Make A Wish, subbing at a school or spending time at a special needs camp.
  1. Make a video on why child life is important. Also, put in the video why child life is important to YOU. Did you have a hospital experience as a child? Did your sibling have a hospital experience? What? We all have a child life story. Tell yours.
  1. Write a blog post on Child Life month or why child life is important. Like the video, but you can use a lot of cute pictures!
  1. Attend an event geared towards children (i.e. teddy bear clinic). *I have always wanted to take part in this type of activity.


  1. Celebrate with other students. This can be at your school or even through facebook (it is amazing what technology can do).

If you are a Child Life Student know that no matter where you are in your journey, you can still take part in this amazing month celebrating our (future) profession, and make an amazing impact on a child’s life.

Happy Child Life Month everyone! Until Next time!


bubble-brushes 11

BSUDM—For the Kids! (11 Years of Hope)


Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t updated in a while. To be honest, I couldn’t think of a blog post for January so therefore, I will be talking about an organization that is near and dear to my heart for Feb.

As a Child Life Student, I know the time, effort and energy that it takes to make the hospital stay as normal as possible for a child and their family. Planning events for the hospital (i.e. holiday parties, sports teams and popular characters visiting), collecting toys for the patients and other supplies that are needed.

How do child life departments receive money? How do playrooms get funded? How do healthcare professionals and others within the community raise money for a large project? This is done by countless donations and fundraisers.

At Ball State University where I attend college we have what is called: Dance Marathon! Now I am sure you have heard about this movement, but just in case you haven’t sit back and enjoy this video…

Throughout the country Dance Marathons are at large. They raise money for their local children’s hospitals and stand on their feet for hours! Colleges and high schools alike take part in this amazing event.

DM started back in 1991 at Indiana State University. A student founded dance marathon in the memory of Ryan White, a fellow student who passed away from HIV/AIDS.

Since 1991 countless students have come together from all over the nation to take part in this event. Last year alone, Miracle Network Dance Marathons raised more than $26 million. $26 million dollars! Each school raises money for something different for a certain hospital….

At Ball State, we help raise money for the Magic Castle Cart and Palliative Care for Riley Hospital for Children.

The Magic Castle Cart

Bob Baxter, former president of Riley Children’s Foundation (1991-1996), started the Magic Castle Cart program over 14 years ago as a way administer Smile Therapy to Riley patients and remain connected to the hospital. Volunteers distribute gifts including puzzles, stuffed animals, funny glasses, crayons and coloring books, lip gloss, playing cards and other treats for the children. The Magic Castle Cart program has around 12 volunteers who distribute more than 20,000 gifts to patients, siblings and parents annually. Approximately $30,000 is required annually to maintain the fleet of two carts, one specifically tailored to Ball State University.



Palliative Care

Pediatric Palliative care is specialized medical care for children with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the child and the family.


In the summer of 2016 a playroom on the stem cell unit at Riley Hospital for Children was dedicated to Ball State University Dance Marathon. The marathon just months prior had raised enough money to have a room named in the school’s honor.


On Feb. 17, 2018 Ball State University will celebrate its 11th year of standing on their feet for 12 hours. 11 years of spreading hope, joy and happiness. 11 years of being a part of an amazing movement. 11 years of stories shared by those who received amazing care and support from Riley Hospital for Children. On Feb. 17 Ball State University will celebrate 11 years of supporting the kids! FTK! (For the Kids!)

If you would like to donate to Ball State Dance Marathon please see the link below. Thank you for your support and remember FTK! 

Until Next Time!

A New Year a New Me!

BeFunky Collage


As this year ends we all look back on what we accomplished over the year. For some a college degree, some got married and for others they may have started a new job. Through all the awful things that occurred this year, we all accomplished something during those hard times. For me, I received a child life internship! This has been a goal of mine for two years. As a matter of fact, I must have this internship to graduate from my university. So, for two years (172 child life internship applications and six sessions) I finally received this amazing opportunity! I am so excited and beyond blessed!

For a time, I didn’t know if I was going to get an internship, but quitting and giving up was not an option. I knew that if I gave up I was not only giving up on my dream, but also on those children who have mental illnesses. If I gave up, I would not get to be a Certified Child Life Specialist in a psychiatric children’s hospital someday. With a great amount of enthusiasm and resilience I pressed onward and finally got an internship.

Throughout the spring/summer, I look forward in learning new things as I step out into the child life field as an intern. I look forward in advancing my knowledge and understanding of medical procedures, diagnoses and medical terminology, being an advocate for patients and their families within the health care system, and lastly, begin the transition from student to professional. I look forward in doing everything listed above much more.

Another thing that I accomplished was celebrating my one year blog anniversary! How fast a year came for my blog (July 6, 2016). Within that year, I blogged about different types of organizations: Little Wish Foundation and Child Mind Institute. I have blogged about Child Life Month, toys based on diagnosis, child life portfolio and my child life internship offer! Just to name a few.

With the new year approaching what do you hope to accomplish? Maybe a down payment on a house, completing college or maybe traveling overseas to another country (I highly recommend Germany).

For me personally, I hope to secure a child life job. While I have waited a great while for the internship, I pray finding a job is much easier and less stressful. During this next year, I put God in control and look to him to guide me during this up and coming year.


From Peace, Hope and Play I hope you all have a fantastic new year!


Hospital Stay During the Holidays…What Healthcare Providers Can Do to Help.




Christmas is the time of year where we spend it with family and friends. We take part in different traditions throughout the season. The children make Christmas list. Sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want and put cookies out on Christmas Eve. They all have the faith of a child…because they are a child.

However, for hundreds and thousands of children in the hospital they don’t hear carols, eat Christmas cookies or even sit on Santa’s lap. These children hear the beeping of the monitors instead of carols, eat bland, tasteless food instead of cookies, see Santa on TV instead of sitting on his lap and watch the snow falling from their hospital window instead of playing out in it. During their stay, the children ask “Will Santa know where I am?”

Parents are unsettled and disappointed as they pace the white hallways, make calls to home and sleep in an uncomfortable chair. All the while witnessing their child suffering during this joyous time of year.

As healthcare providers (or students) we want to provide the very best care for these patients and their families. This also includes during Christmas. Below you will find some ideas on what you as a healthcare professional (or student) can do to endure a better Christmas for these little ones (or even adult patients).

  1. Traditions. Help the families normalize their hospital stay by letting them take part in their traditions. Help them create a time and a space for Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa activities. Try to accommodate their meals (if possible), prayer time, movie and more.


  1. Environment. When you can’t be at home for the holidays the next best thing is to bring that environment to you. Have the patients and their families decorate their room. The children can decorate with snowflakes and paper ornaments. Also, let the families know that it is okay to bring their favorite stuffed animals, blankets, DVDs from home.


  1. Child Life Specialist. If the hospital has a CLS contact them about your patient’s family’s special needs. CLS explain to the children what is happening, allow opportunities for play and self-expression. They also can provide special activities for the patient and family (i.e. parties, inviting Santa to visit, art activities, games).


  1. Gifts for patients. Give gifts that can be used at that moment. An iTunes gift card, kindle, Bluetooth speakers. The patient can read, listen to music, watch a movie when is convenient to them.


  1. Gifts for the families of the patients. Staying with a loved one during a hospital stay is hard and taxing. The families are tired and just want normalization back into their lives. Here is a small list on what would be a good gift.
  • Free parking passes for the hospital
  • Paying for a couple night’s stay at a hospital (if the hospital doesn’t have a local Ronald McDonald House) ***Maybe ask a couple of co-workers to go in on this gift with you.
  • Gas cards. Some families may be driving to and from the hospital every day.
  • Restaurant gift cards. This allows the family to have a meal beyond the hospital walls
  • Stay with the patient and let the family rest for a little while. Giving of your time is the best gift you can give.

As a child life student, I have seen children hospitalized during a holiday. Halloween as a matter of fact. The children told me that they miss going trick or treating. That is a part of childhood. Dressing up as your favorite character, collecting candy and seeing if you can eat it in one night. During my practicum, I had the privilege to collaborate with the other child life specialist and volunteers and took the children around the hospital to get treats. It doesn’t matter what holiday a child is stuck in the hospital for. It is very stressful, time consuming and out of the norm for the child.

These ideas also go for those who are in other hospital settings (i.e. mental health).


Until Next Time! Merry Christmas!