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La Rabida goes to the capitol

La Rabida joined nearly 100 other hospitals for the Illinois Health and Hospital Association’s Quality Advocacy Showcase at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. Staff had the opportunity to meet with legislators to discuss La Rabida’s quality improvement efforts, and shared the cost-savings and positive outcomes associated with improving the quality of life for caregivers of medically-complex children.

Having physically and emotionally healthy caretakers is vital for kids at La Rabida, which is why La Rabida proudly offers a support system in our comprehensive medical home model. As a result, the quality of life of caregivers improves over time when a child is engaged in primary care offered by an interdisciplinary medical home team. It's a commitment we are proud of and will continue to fulfill every day at La Rabida.

Help 'smoke out' sickle cell disease and support La Rabida's Charles Horn II Sickle Cell Program
Join us on Wednesday, May 23rd at 6 PM for the Smoke Out.  Participants will be treated to an evening of fine dining and exceptional cigars to support the Charles Horn III Sickle Cell Program at La Rabida Children's Hospital. All attendees will enjoy hors d'oeuvres and a three-course dinner, premium open bar, fine cigars, silent auction, prizes and more! Sponsorship opportunities are available. Click here to register and learn more about this event.
Philanthropic mindset? Help children and families of La Rabida? Network with seasoned professionals? Sound like you?

La Rabida is expanding our Corporate Advisory Board (CAB); the La Rabida CAB is a group of young professionals who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and families at La Rabida. Members can expect to gain leadership and board experience, network with likeminded professionals and support the mission of La Rabida through a philanthropic and engaging program.

Want to learn more? Contact Kate Tillotson at: 773.256.5718 or

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A special visitor hopped by La Rabida on Easter 

Children staying aboard the SS La Rabida inpatient unit were treated to a visit from the Easter Bunny on Easter Sunday. Thanks to the generous support of donors and our community partners, every child in the inpatient unit was given a personalized Easter basket, which included child and developmentally-friendly treats, stuffed animals, coloring books, toys and games. Siblings were also given stuffed animals and their own Easter baskets.
Allen Kutchins, a member of La Rabida’s board of trustees, dressed up as the Easter Bunny, and a number of his family members also joined in on the fun, donning bunny ears and visiting with the kids.
Photos of the Easter Bunny’s visit posted on La Rabida’s social media channels captured the attention of former La Rabida patients—some of whom now have children of their own. The sentiment was universally positive, and a terrific reminder of how these small gestures for kids at La Rabida can leave a lasting impact.

One former patient reflected on her time as a patient at La Rabida, “Although I was very ill, and…scared, I was also loved, and taken very good care of by everyone; thanks to you all.” Another patient stated, “When I was a little girl I remember being in the hospital for holidays and [La Rabida would] make sure we got something to put a smile on our faces.”

We would like to extend a thank you to friends of La Rabida, the Kutchins family and donors for making this Easter so special for kids at La Rabida.

Patients become the doctors at child life teddy bear clinic

March was child life month; in honor of the occasion, La Rabida’s child life department hosted a teddy bear clinic. Child life provided toy doctors’ kits, so children could give their patients (teddy bears) checkups, including, listening to the teddy bears’ heartbeats, taking their blood pressure, temperature, and even administered pretend shots! Kids could then take the teddy bears home with them.
Most notably, all kids treating their teddy bear patients genuinely wanted to help their stuffed animals get better. One child doctor who visited the teddy bear clinic said, “Uh oh, my teddy bear has a fever! I need to give him a shot, so he can feel better!” These events are intended to help take some of the fear out of visiting a hospital, and bring a little fun to a child’s experience; seeing kids associate clinicians and certain treatments in a positive way was very rewarding for La Rabida staff. 

Scheck & Siress, an organization that specializes in prosthetics and orthotics, also got in on the fun. They donated stuffed animals wearing custom orthotics scaled to fit teddy bears. Child life uses these animals as a tool to take some of the mystery out of durable medical equipment used by kids at La Rabida. Seeing a stuffed animal wear a similar orthotic helps quell kids' fears, and it gives them a relatable representation in a fun and playful way. We are very proud of our child life department for their unique and engaging programs designed to help our young patients adjust to being in the hospital and bring a little fun to pediatric care.

"Volunteers are a work of heart",
La Rabida celebrates volunteers during National Volunteer Month

In honor of April’s national volunteer week, La Rabida held its 33rd annual volunteer recognition celebration. Volunteers were treated to dinner and a program filled with gratitude and great memories from La Rabida staff.

La Rabida staff put together an appreciation video for volunteers; staff from various departments across the organization expressed a message of gratitude for their departments’ respective volunteers. Everyone from clinicians, to executive staff to social workers shared glowing admiration of our volunteers.

Manager, volunteer services, Adam Spencer shared his appreciation for volunteers with a heart-felt message, “You raise possibilities for a lifetime for our kids by creating possibilities for joy, and comfort, and laughter, and hugs, and reading, and games, and most important of all, possibilities for love.”

La Rabida would like to thank our caring, hard-working and kind volunteers for their gift of time and support of La Rabida’s mission.

La Rabida has a future occupational therapist aboard the SS La Rabida...and he's eight years old

April is Occupational Therapist Month, and we’re proud to share that we have a future occupational therapist in our midst. Meet Alberto, one of La Rabida’s newest passengers aboard the SS La Rabida inpatient unit. At the ripe age of eight, he has already carved out his future career path: he wants to be an occupational therapist.  

When asked why he wants to be an occupational therapist, Alberto proudly proclaimed that he wants, “to help kids get stronger while they get to do fun stuff and have fun.”  La Rabida occupational therapists use a number of tools help kids gain strength through playful therapies. One of Alberto’s favorites is an exercise where he gets to “reach for the stars”. To increase his core strength, Alberto lies on a medicine ball in front of a mirror covered with shaving cream and speckled with small, colorful beads to represent stars in the night sky. Alberto uses his core strength to balance himself on the ball, lift himself up, and grab stars off the mirror. Alison, Alberto’s occupational therapist, is very touched by his choice in career, and she has no doubt he’s capable of reaching that goal.

Alberto has not only been very engaged in his care; he’s also very fond of La Rabida’s nautical theme. Alberto greets visitors by declaring that he “is on a boat!” He is playfully referred to as, “Captain Alberto” by his care team, and he proudly dons a boat captain hat. Staff across the hospital enjoy his wonderful sense of humor and good nature.

La Rabida is proud to celebrate Occupational Therapist Month with Alberto. We would also like to extend a huge thank you to our dedicated occupational therapists—both current and aspiring!