Choosing Children’s: Becky Petro
“I have had a personal connection to Children’s since 1991, when my son was born with a serious heart defect (Tetralogy of Fallot) and other complex medical and cognitive issues. Zach had his first open-heart surgery at Children’s-Minneapolis when he was 4 months old to repair the defect. The surgery was successful but he developed a leaky pulmonary valve (which is common) and underwent a second open-heart surgery at age 18 to replace this.
As a child with multiple medical issues, Zach returned to Children’s for a variety of procedures and treatments over the years, but it’s the surgeries that we remember most vividly. As the frightened parents of a child about to undergo major surgery my husband and I were calmed, encouraged and educated by the amazing nurses, physicians, child life specialists and volunteers we met in the hospital.
I feel that my experiences with my son have provided me with sensitivity, compassion and a unique understanding of what families at Children’s are going through. That is what led me to volunteer at Children’s-St. Paul in the Child Life Zone.
Volunteering in the Child Life Zone, and most recently training the new volunteers, allows me to support the important work of the Child Life staff while also supporting the families — from playing basketball with a sibling who needs to blow off some steam to giving a young patient a pedicure, or visiting with the parents and seeing them relax for a bit. If I can make anyone smile or provide comfort or encouragement for even a short while, I feel like I have made a difference.”