National Child Life Month: Katie Lawhead
March is National Child Life Month. To celebrate this occasion we interviewed Katie Lawhead, a Child Life Specialist at Georgia Regents University.
What kind of work does your job entail?
I am the outpatient clinic child life specialist at the Children's Hospital of Georgia in Augusta. My job is to meet kids and their families when they come in to the clinics, answer any questions they may have about their appointment, explain any procedures they may have, provide support to them during the procedure and help them cope the best way that they can.
How have you been involved with Make-A-Wish?
I have worked with numerous doctors at the Children's Hospital of Georgia on completing wish applications. I work with several physicians on identifying patients that would be good candidates for a wish. Typically, I am the person that chats with the family first and then fills out the initial paperwork. After that, I am the liaison between Make-A-Wish and the medical team to make sure that everything is in order for the child's wish. I am also in the process of becoming a Make-A-Wish volunteer. I see what a difference a wish makes in a child's life, so I want to do whatever I can to help.
What is your favorite wish story?
By far my favorite wish story is Daniel Moretz. He was treated at our hospital for many years and eventually had a heart transplant in Boston. He was 8 or 9 years old at the time. His wish was to BE the president of the United States. Daniel had secret service for the day and made a speech to the press corp about the importance of organ donation. He took his job VERY seriously.
How have you seen Make-A-Wish impact children’s lives?
I have seen Make-A-Wish impact children in SO many different ways. When we start the conversation about Make-A-Wish with a child, they light up. This gives them something to look forward to. Talking about who they want to meet, where they want to go or what they want to do instantly brings a smile to the child's face. Make-A-Wish includes the entire family, which is SO important! Often, siblings become the 'forgotten' family member, so by participating in a wish, the entire family has a chance to reconnect and have fun!