The summer season – or as we call it, “parade season” – is a very busy time for the Vermont Children’s Hospital. Many VCH staff and patients are invited to represent our children’s hospital at a variety of community events including the YMCA Kids Day, parades for Kids Day, Memorial Day, and other occasions, as well as fundraisers sponsored by community organizations and groups. If you really want to feel good about the work we do, march with us in a parade. Our next parade will be the Colchester Parade on July 4th at 10:00 am.
What make these parades so special are the comments we hear as we walk down the streets. So many people want to say “thank you,” or pull me onto the curb to tell me how they were helped by our hospital – all while the parade is in motion! Perhaps the most common comment I receive is about how fortunate our community is to have comprehensive primary care, every pediatric medical and surgical subspecialty, as well as state-of-the-art critical and neonatal intensive care – all so that families do not need to travel out of our region to receive state-of-the-art pediatric care.
Sometimes those of us who provide the care every day and night may take the services we provide for granted. Suffice it to say, we shouldn’t, and the community’s trust in what we do and how comprehensively we do it, allows us to feel quite honored to have earned the right to be a fully accredited member of the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions.
At a time when health care is being scrutinized nationally and patients in other parts of the country are too often complaining about the care they receive, I would encourage any of you who may feel a bit downtrodden to join us for a parade and be reenergized by the love and support that not only our children’s hospital, but the UVM Medical Center overall, is earning in our region. You’ll even get a free t-shirt just by joining in the fun – call Sue Victory, our senior administrative coordinator at 802-656-3243 for more details.
As much as I love a parade, it’s the crowd watching the parade and cheering for what we do that will make us work even harder to meet the needs of children and families–and that’s a tune I hope you will continue to march to.
Lewis First, M.D., is chief of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital at the University of Vermont Medical Center and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Larner College of Medicine at UVM.