La Rabida drive continues

This holiday season, La Rabida Children’s Hospital and the Hyde Park Herald are teaming up to support some of the neediest families that make use of the hospital’s award-winning facilities.

While the hospital is a unique place in large part because of the special children who visit there, the volunteers and staff of the hospital also help to make La Rabida shine.

Hyde Parker Pam Northrop is one of those employees. A medical manager at La Rabida, 6501 S. Promontory Dr., Northrop has worked at the hospital for 20 years. She spearheads the hospital’s coordinated care programs, which bring an interdisciplinary team of experts to each hospital visit. This feature of La Rabida is essential, as many of the hospital’s patients are children with chronic illnesses, developmental disabilities and other lifelong conditions that require a number of specialists to properly diagnose and treat.

An equally important part of the La Rabida team is it volunteers. Hyde Parker Joan Lawson is among those who dedicate their time to the children there, a staple in the outpatient clinic on Tuesday mornings when the Premier Kids clinic is in session. She can be seen there talking with a mom about soothing a colicky newborn or high-fiving a toddler for reading to her.

Lawson’s dedication has even earned her a spot on the program’s Quality Committee to review and improve the medical home.

Volunteer Manager Judi Blakemore called Joan a “trusted and true member of the team,’’ who has earned her blue smock for her more than 1,134 volunteer hours. This retired nurse brings a unique touch to each patient and their family, entertaining them as she quietly assesses their developmental abilities.

La Rabida and the Herald are encouraging readers to donate gift cards to the hospital so they can be responsibly distributed to families in need of the basics, such as gas in order to commute to and from the hospital. To contribute, buy a gift card and drop it off at the Herald offices at 1435 E. Hyde Park Blvd. or at the hospital at 6501 S. Promontory Dr.

La Rabida Children’s Hospital, established in 1896, is a lakeside pediatric specialty care hospital which provides family centered, interdisciplinary care to 7,500 children with special health care needs each year.

For more information, e-mail