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 that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the 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 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.