Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Grayslake Student, Classmates Help Pediatric Patients Smile during Loyola Hospital Stay

MAYWOOD, Ill. – Maybe it’s in couch cushions or just thrown into pockets and forgotten, but that leftover pocket change can really make a big “change” in the life of a child.
Emily Shalit of Grayslake, Ill., who recently graduated from Grayslake Middle School, found out how quickly pocket change can add up when she challenged the kids at her school to bring in spare change to support pediatric patients at the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital at Loyola University Medical Center.

“I really enjoy helping people and I wanted to be able to let others have a chance to help, too. I thought this would be a great way to do that and help kids that are close to home,” Shalit said.

She started the Change for Charity challenge at her school. Each 7th- and 8th-grade homeroom received a jar to fill with change. The winning classes that raised the most money didn’t have to change into gym uniforms for a day. Teams brought their jars to the lunchroom so the leftover lunch money could be added. Administrators and teachers got involved as well, adding a little more than change to the jar.

In the end, Emily’s project raised more than $700 for Loyola’s Child Life Program, which helps pediatric patients and families maintain a sense of normalcy during hospitalization.
The pocket change is already making a positive change in the lives of Loyola’s pediatric patients. It is being used to help purchase toys, games and other items that help to bring joy and foster creative play during an often scary and difficult time in a child’s life.

“Receiving donations like this makes an impact on our entire program; with Emily's donation I will be able to purchase mobiles and toys for the infants who are hospitalized,” said Megan Gertz, Loyola’s child life specialist. “Emily's generosity teaches other patients and families the meaning of giving back and spreading joy for the sick kids. Thank you to Emily and her classmates for making a difference in the life of a child."

Media: Please contact Evie Polsley at or call (708) 216-5313 or (708) 417-5100 for more information.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 92 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities - that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.