Akron Children’s Hospital event raises funds for Pediatric Palliative Care Center
By Kalea Hall
When Nathan Daprile was in the hospital for more than 70 days at age 2, his parents and older sister were shown the reality of chronic illness.
But then came help from the pediatric palliative-care program at Akron Children’s Hospital.
The program provided Nathan’s parents, Amy and Tony, with financial and emotional support while Nathan, who has a chromosomal abnormality, was ill.
“They still provide for us and call us and check in on Nathan,” Amy said.
Nathan is now 9, in good health and a student at Leonard Kirtz School in Austintown. On Friday, the Dapriles shared their story with more than 300 guests at Mr. Anthony’s Banquet Center on South Avenue for the “Holiday Hopes and Wishes” event to raise money for the Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley Palliative Care Fund.
The program provides different ways to make sure families dealing with a chronic illness have everything they need to deal with it.
The program served Mahoning Valley patients through its Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center in Akron since the program began in 2002. By the first quarter of 2016, the program also will be in operation at the Akron Children’s Beeghly Campus on Market Street in Boardman.
The program was founded by Dr. Sarah Friebert, director of pediatric palliative care at Akron Children’s.
Pediatric palliative care focuses on children, prenatal to young adult, with complex, chronic or serious conditions, and their families, enhancing quality of life in partnership with cure-directed care, according to Akron Children’s website.
The program’s care providers are physicians, nurse-case managers, social workers, a bereavement coordinator, chaplain, child-life specialists, therapists, psychologists, pharmacists, a dietitian and trained volunteers.
The family members of a child who has a chronic illness “need a lot,” Dr. Friebert said.
“They need practical help, and they need help coping to a life they never expected, and we try to provide help in all of those different domains,” Dr. Friebert said.
For the Dapriles, the program provided meal, gas and free-parking cards. It also is provided counseling.
“They are showing how compassionate they are,” Amy said. “Nathan has been very healthy, but they [still] send him a birthday card and a Christmas card.”
The event included a bake shop and auction to help raise funds for the program.
“It’s not about death and dying. It’s about life and living,” Dr. Friebert said.