Caring is in all of us, and nurses truly embody that spirit. Independence Blue Cross received nearly 700 submissions for our Celebrate Caring campaign. We are honored to share the stories of our top 10 finalists, including Catherine Hamilton, a pediatric nurse at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Making Kids’ Summer Camp Dreams a Reality
Catherine was nominated by her coworker for her remarkable work with children and their families at CHOP, and her active volunteerism with Dragonfly Forest, an overnight camp for children with chronic medical needs. Catherine started at the camp as a medical volunteer for Hematology Week in the summer of 2010, and she quickly felt inspired by the kids with sickle cell disease, who are prone to intense bouts of pain and potentially life-threatening infections.
“Kids just want to be kids. They don’t let their disease define them. When their pain gets too severe, they visit me in the Getaway (the camp’s infirmary) and as soon as the pain eases they are off and running, climbing the rock wall, and canoeing across the lake.”
When she’s not providing medical care, Catherine gets to share in the joy of camp.
“I get to have fun with the campers when they are healthy and feeling good. I get to paint faces and be a backup dancer in the talent show.”
Sharing a Learning Opportunity
Now, Catherine is a year-round volunteer at Dragonfly Forest. She’s created a partnership with a local hospital for campers who might need emergency care and expanded the camp’s medical capabilities in the infirmary. Catherine is also leading efforts to raise funds to cover the cost of camp for 60 children, and working with the Penn Nursing School to give students the opportunity to learn about caring for kids with chronic medical needs in the community.
Nursing in Catherine’s Words
“I always knew I wanted to be a nurse,” said Catherine. “After 16 years, I still love what I do. I continue to be inspired every day by the children and families I have the privilege of caring for, and I love knowing that in some small way I made a difference to someone who needed my help.”