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Niswonger Children's Hospital Radiothon benefiting Child Life Services

Johnson City Press • Updated Feb 5, 2019 at 5:13 PM

The seventh annual Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon Feb. 21-22 will support the hospital’s Child Life Services Department. 

A Ballad Health Foundation event, the Radiothon will be broadcast live by Holston Valley Broadcasting from the lobby of the children’s hospital. 

Each year, the Radiothon relies on volunteers and community support to raise money for the hospital, with this year’s funding benefiting the Child Life Services Department. 

“Empowering children, easing fears and creating a comforting environment for kids are what a child life specialist at Niswonger Children’s Hospital does every day,” a hospital press release stated. 

Shauna Large said her 7-year-old daughter, Elle, received vital support from the Child Life Services team when she was diagnosed with pediatric leukemia at age 5. 

“The unknown is very scary; it’s terrifying for both you and your child, but you have to be strong for them,” Shauna Large said.

“When Ellee began her treatment, she was so scared. I’ll never forget how much it helped her when Child Life Services came in and showed her how the procedures were going to happen. They showed her on a doll, so she could visualize it and really understand what’s going on. It was a huge comfort for Ellee.”

Amanda Ward, Child Life Services manager, said her team uses “playing” as a powerful tool to help children cope with the experiences and feelings they may have while in a hospital. 

Child life specialists often provide simple games, crafts or toys to help cheer and distract children while they’re undergoing medical treatment. 

“But where the expertise and training of the child life specialist really shines is in medical play — a therapeutic approach to educating children about all aspects of their care,” Niswonger’s press release stated. “This might involve allowing a child to practice giving an IV to a teddy bear, or having the child take the caregiver role in putting a doll through a toy MRI machine.”

NIswonger CEO Lia Carter called the Child Life Services team the “heart” of the hospital. 

This year’s Radiothon campaign is now accepting pledges in two ways: Text “KITE” to 5155 or visit www.niswongerchildrensradiothon.com

For more details on putting together a fundraising team to support Child Life Services, visit www.niswongerchildrensradiothon.com or call the Ballad Health Foundation at 423-302-3131 or 423-230-8550.

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