April 20, 2020
A letter from Chaplain Ryan
To my Children’s Medical Center Foundation family,
The last few weeks have been a challenging and unprecedented time at Children’s Health℠ as my team members and I on the frontlines began to face the COVID-19 pandemic and implement extra precautions to keep our patients, families and ourselves safe.
With social distancing and visitor restrictions, the hospital looks and feels a bit differently these days. The hallways are emptier. Fewer faces float through the floors to smile and say hello to, and there are signs to read and markers on the floor to remind us of our responsibility to keep each other safe.
My fellow chaplains and I have suspended chapel services to promote social distancing, but the chapel remains open to those who seek comfort in its sacred space. We are still providing bedside spiritual support in person and via technology when necessary. We are collaborating with the Red Balloon Network to televise chapel services and Godly Play sessions to reach children and families in their patient rooms We are constantly learning to innovate and create.
Many colleagues that we shared meals and meetings with are working from home and sheltering in place. Others are working flexible shifts to minimize exposure and unnecessary use of resources. Extra hands are on deck for extra cleanings, wipe-downs and disinfecting precautions. We are being careful with the resources we have and preparing for what’s to come.
While we could be focusing on what seems like scarcity in the hospital these days, there are also plenty of places to see abundance! Child Life continues to provide support to promote normalization and coping for the children we serve. Our concierge and security folks are focused on patiently explaining the necessary restrictions to visitors in often stressful times. Clinical teams continue to do what they do best in caring for children in life-threatening situations.
While many are wearing masks throughout the hospital, you can still see the smiles that staff offer to one another in their eyes as they pass in the empty hallways. Signs of solidarity, community and collaboration are blooming everywhere.
My team members and I are grateful for our ability to continue to focus on the physical, emotional and spiritual healing in our patient and family populations during this anxious time.
We are also grateful to you, dear donor, for the support you provide through choosing to give.
We wouldn’t be able to serve our community -- undistracted by scarcity -- if it weren’t for your generosity. We feel your support, and we feel your prayers and small acts of kindness that affect our mission in enormous ways.
Stay safe, stay healthy and blessings to you and your families.
Choose Children’s Health for Giving Tuesday Now
Caring for souls
The three sat cross-legged on carpet squares in a serene room with soft lighting.
The Godly Play chapel is a quiet oasis next to a bustling hospital hallway.
“You want to get into this story and see what happens?” Ryan Campbell, Manager, Pastoral Care, gently asked 15-year-old Connor and his mom.
Diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 2 – a benign tumor of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves – Connor has been making these trips for several years to the Godly Play chapel to visit with Ryan before his appointments at Children’s Medical Center Dallas.
While there, he tells Ryan that he’s glad to have finished his STAAR exam, how he got a new Persian cat named Portia and that he’s nervous for his next doctor’s appointment.
As a chaplain, Ryan calls himself a collector of stories like Connor’s.
“And they’re stories about something that is happening to them, something they have no control over,” Ryan said.
He said this is part of the holistic care that Children’s Health offers its patients and their families beyond the clinical diagnosis that drives his giving.
“There are so many aspects of psychosocial support and family support services that Children’s Health provides that isn’t billable, but that still upholds the mission and values of the organization that I feel like I can’t not support that,” Ryan said.
Back in the Godly Play chapel, Ryan asked Connor, “What is something so precious to you that you might give up anything for?”
Connor listed some of the people in his life: his mom, his friends, his brother.
“The ability to be free from disease,” he added.
Choose Children's Health
Ryan gives to Children's Health because he believes in supporting the holistic care offered to patients and families.