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One Generation Fighting for the Next

“Through compassion, hope and action, we are committed to inspiring our generation to fight for the next.

This is the sentence that ends the committee vision statement that we read at the start of every core committee meeting. It’s always resonated with me and is a huge part of the reason I’m so involved with DemonTHON. For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Erin McKenna and I currently serve as the Hospital Relations Director for DemonTHON.

I’m also a former patient of Lurie Children’s Hospital. Through my work with DemonTHON, I work with patients and families that are just like I used to be. I started treatment at Lurie Children’s when I was five years old and was there for eight years, visiting every three months until I was thirteen years old. I was diagnosed with Growth Hormone Deficiency and had to receive Synthetic Human Growth Hormone injections every day for five years, as well as blood tests and x-rays at every visit.

At the time, the hospital we know and love today looked very different. It was called Children’s Memorial Hospital and was in a small cinder block building right here in Lincoln Park. I split my time between the actual hospital and the professional building, as well as various satellite offices and partner hospitals. My memories of that time in my life are bleak.

The care was top of the line, and the people in charge of my treatment were wonderful, but I often think about how different my experiences could have been if I had been a patient just a few years later. The buildings I was in were old and faded, with imposing white walls and peeling wallpaper. I had to take three different elevators and cross over two bridges to get between the various rooms I had to visit. When I visit Lurie Children’s as it is today, I’m blown away.

I watch videos like this of Charlie Castino, one of our miracle kids, visiting the hospital, and I can’t believe what I’m seeing. I watch him play with the buttons and sounds in the elevator and say hi to the fish in the fish tank. At the end of the video, I hear him describe his visit to the hospital as ‘fun’, and I’m reminded why I joined DemonTHON in the first place. Our generation is fighting for the next.

The patients at Lurie Children’s today receive superior pediatric care in a setting that offers the latest benefits and innovations in medical technology, research, and family-friendly design. Now, through the money we raise, that care will only continue to get better.

Lurie Children’s Hospital changed my life once. Now, through my experiences with DemonTHON, working with these families, and seeing their journeys, it’s changing my life all over again.

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