Hoops Family Children's Hospital Celebrates Child Life Month

Friday, March 1, 2024

Luna was diagnosed with acute leukemia on October 9, 2022, after a routine appointment with her pediatrician uncovered swelling in her neck.

When Luna was just two years old, she was diagnosed with acute leukemia. Now nearly two years later, Luna is in remission after receiving the very best care possible at Hoops Family Children’s Hospital at Cabell Huntington Hospital. Her mother Kayla said one of Luna’s favorite parts of her hospital stay is working with the specialists in the hospital’s Child Life Department.

“Luna absolutely loves working with Miss Stephanie,” Kayla said. “She gets down on her level and plays with her. When she first came to the hospital for treatment, they gave Luna a stuffed duck that looked like a normal stuffed animal at first, but we quickly saw that this duck had a chemo port, just like the one Luna used for treatment. The child life specialists work so hard to make Luna’s stay fun and to ease any fears she’s had about treatment.”

Child Life Specialist Stephanie Cape is shown playing with Luna with one of her favorites, Play-Doh.

Child Life Month is celebrated every March, and Hoops Family Children’s Hospital Child Life Department is home to two full-time child life specialists and a board-certified music therapist. Child life specialists are trained professionals with expertise in helping children and their families understand and cope with a child's illness or injury and related medical treatment. They provide emotional support for families and encourage optimum development of children facing challenges related to their health. With a strong background in child development and family systems, child life specialists promote effective coping through play, preparation, education and self-expression activities.

Kayla said her daughter Luna has three more treatments until she will be in the maintenance phase of her treatment plan. With more trips to the hospital in her daughter’s future, Kayla said she doesn’t know what she would have done without the support of the Child Life Department.

Luna's mother describes her daughter as a "ball of fun" and said the Child Life team is great to get on her level and match her energy.

“We travel more than two hours to come here to Hoops,” Kayla said. “I would not change where we went for anything in the world because we have truly received the best care possible here. Luna loves everyone on the staff, and she cries when she has to go home.”

However, going home is the ultimate goal for Miss Luna and all of the pediatric patients at Hoops. Thanks to the dedicated and skilled doctors, nurses, and of course, the child life team, patients like Luna will continue to recover and thrive.

In recognition of Child Life Month, we invite you to learn more about the Child Life Department and the services they provide by visiting www.hoopschildrens.org/childlife.