Aug 27, 2013|
Lisa talks about her work at the Jimmy Fund and the parents of the many patients she has worked with through the years. She doesn’t believe that patients ever lose their battle with cancer because their parents keep fighting. Lisa and her team are responsible for helping the patients have fun during their treatment with special teen trips, Summer Festival and Christmas parties. Her trips help the teenage patients empower and be themselves while fighting through the fear.
Transcript - will not be 100% accurate
She's our designated hitters batting fourth in the lineup. -- -- the director of patient and family programs Jimmy Fund clinic at the Dana Farber otherwise known as the lately good morning Lisa how are you good morning guys and doing really well I think you know what this feels different. To me this year and and and I'm experiencing something that you based on your career choice experiences all the time. And that is people who you expect and want to be here no longer are. And -- and -- Certainly at the top of that list so I ask you with this kind of somber question begin with Lisa is the best part of what you do. Does that outweigh the worst part of what you do. It's a good question start with yeah products that you know joining note. I have to say it's it's been hard two hours to listen to these families and beautiful two -- to listen to these families and it always. Outweighs. The good always outweighs the bad and asked him you know I think what's so amazing about working in the Jimmy Fund clinic is. That the families that lose the most that you say a lot like their child doesn't. Stay in this fight on their parents continue the battle even more so I always -- when I hear you know they've lost their battle with cancer because they didn't lose a battle. They just had to stop this fight for a moment and then their parents and their friends and -- pick up. And when you hear it leaves -- and out on his parents and you just like Deanna I'm so lucky to be here. And just sort of know these families and to sort of deal to do a small part in making it a better. Had a better experience for them to have them look back on on things that they can say this was the worst hell we could have been through -- there are some memories that we had. Is this a bad year we were in the clinic is you know visiting in June it was very busy it just seems like. Business this is just too good right now at a clinic at the Dana Farber a tough year. I don't think it -- any tougher than normal I think it's it's always unfortunately busy. Now I think it's one of those things where those kids locked the door and every time you -- the good things are too is you see kids that are survivors. That are twenty years after man that yes I've been there for 22 years I get to sort of I started when I was four so that was really. -- -- I you know you see someone like that that off to college and had their family already. And then on it could be the next moment you see a -- locked in that lost their child you know the other day we had them. But Dan's mom from from radio -- sort of victory. And that was just knocked on my door and -- coming and then it that's a beautiful moment for us when families that have lost their children to this. This dreaded disease come back in just they just wanna say higher than giving blood and platelets and they're having golf tournaments and and raising funds for other kids. Don't think it changes obviously changes them the parents to survivors. And it. But it comes just change them makes them better in a mix them in a way better people it makes more. Aware of what other people are going to around them it makes their priorities straight street yes. My putting down these parents are there fighting for other other parents they don't want other parents -- and they had. So I think it's really for us it's -- -- every day when -- feet one of them locked the doors so we listened to them on your on your show here and it's hard to keep it together and we were out there all trying to to hold it together. But it's it's a beautiful place it really. This is certainly no revelation to you because you live it breathe it every single day and -- beginning to see it now we talked about this earlier in the broadcast -- seems to be disconnecting threat. Between parents and it's almost something palpable it's almost something you can see and feel on the look at their -- and sort of the the fear. And and and in the inability to it to to really effective change to some sort of go along with what the Jimmy Fund is telling them do best fans in the world could possibly be -- Do you -- that connecting thread between parents of sick kids. On a daily I'm I think it's one of those things when your parent your child is supposed to trust you know you're the one who has all the decisions that they have to listen in a moment in an instant. They come into us and they have doctors and nurses and an everyone's saying OK now put your trust -- me yeah. We're gonna take care of your child and you're gonna nurture them and we're gonna give you so for these parents sometimes it takes a little while to understand that. They don't have all the answers and they need to listen to these doctors and nurses and and when they do it's an amazing relationship to see you know listening to doctor Compton this morning. You know talk about with his patient than it really is it's like that with all of these doctors that's it's -- it's. It's amazing they've been there twenty years but it doesn't it doesn't mean he's. Easier right -- -- -- you mean when you see these kids -- when they go through their tickets I think if it ever get easier I think that's when it's time for me now right right I think it almost gets harder. Yeah I think because there around. There -- families out there we have found kids. Match today for example was this amazing amazing boy who was treated at first when he was fifteen and sixteen years old. You know had about 45 relapses and he passed away this past year at age 27. And in those so those times when your life like he was always that kid that you looked -- -- life. You know he's he's the one is gonna make a -- and he's the one who made every other kids smile when he was a teenager he came back -- twice a volunteer and and I and that was hard that was a hard when they're all heart but it sometimes you you kind of hold on to a few of those kids that sort of like this this this is -- gonna get me down. People who have been paying even a little bit of attention to us in this broadcast in this radio on know who you are know what you -- director patient and we program if you are in their words. The lately. You volunteer 22 years ago -- -- for 21 years -- get from whatever you were doing as a volunteer. Two -- as you do now because there are those who would say you have the best job all at the treatment that. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- worm your way into the. And Kennedy -- -- that we okay I'll play -- -- -- You know what does these attack things I worked at a job where. I just kind of every day I walked in I like down love debt and I was like -- could be something else I can do on top of -- and so loud and so I thought you know what the Jimmy Fund clinic that's that's I can work with people with cancer I think I'd love to volunteer there -- so I just went for an interview and they said. We have two days opened you wanna come and I worked nights so I am. I was like -- buffet so -- in Thursday's my volunteer day and honestly from the first day I walked in that place I was. Like I could even think of my own job. It was like I need to be here during need to be doing this work and I never in a million years thought I would be here. And when that -- you know there's a different kind of medicine kind of medicine that you and your team. Dispensed at the Jimmy Fund and. Yeah I think back 22 years ago and the medicine we gave back then. Was paint and -- and blocks and simple things and you know what and that's still got. The smiles and the laughter and from that moment I just knew that we could do more. Then this and we should do more than this I mean we owe it to our families to do more. And and this summer fassel was the first event this was the 21 year of my summer -- looks a little party. About 2400. People I know it started out 21 years ago with 800. People and my family and friends were volunteering and I had no idea what I was doing that sort of a thing for me I never have any idea what I'm doing -- how money's coming to pay for these wonderful things Bynum. That's a day of celebration today of hope for families that have finished achievement and their standing right next to a child just diagnosed. And that doesn't get any better that's priceless. And then. Let's go through your schedule got a check the Christmas party girls night out the Red Sox troop training and love spring training trip then -- -- road trip to a different city every year yes these all your ideas. Yeah I guess I'm not one that I mean I -- Yet there are just sort of brainstorm I guess you know I had to say with the road trip to threats that's hurt it's it's really. It wasn't my idea X I never thought possible that we can do this it was a patient -- Schwartz who one day said to me -- at least that you're doing it all wrong. We need to go -- to go weigh in and get away and sort of be with kids who understand us and I thought he was crazy -- can't take it as a way -- treatment yeah you know and he passed away a couple months later and I sat there and it actually -- staff Christmas party. Nice guys can we do this. And everyone's like yeah. We can do it and on the doctors jumped on board the -- jumped on board and that was the first one it was like eleven years ago discuss. The logistics and the difficulty taking -- forty. Teenagers young people spring training as an example and there are forty caregivers that have to go to the local one -- actively -- gas right secured -- -- much easier. I've got my -- Not that cropped up just talked about as an example getting through security the import yet that's so is it genetic yeah. And they pulled that model line in the again look in their oral you know there can body cavities and given the once over in the audience into an actress. Doctors that them kids going to give them you don't yet you need people for that. There's a lot of there's a lot that goes into it I think come and that's where my team comes in Jack and you guys have met adolescents specialist he's just amazing. She takes care of the screening for all the patients first with the doctors getting their medical releases getting. You know the nurses okay and in -- Mets are gonna need to bring with us I mean so that's a whole thing on top of that we do it or psychosocial team to make sure everyone. Psychologically is actually ready to go away and they can and they can handle this so we don't run into any surprises. What does it work why is it wise it's such good medicine for them with a three days in in in Fort Myers quarterly -- -- -- Chicago Cubs game in Chicago where Theo was very very gracious and -- -- advocates. Why is it good for the kids. He's that good my -- because they smile. They out there reminded that their children and their reminded that there are people fighting for them. And that their people that are going through this right alongside with them other kids that are going through the same thing. When your teacher the first thing you want to do is separate from your parents. You wanna look like everybody else and you just one that fit in just. Do your thing and in an instant again you know you're just. You're you're back with your parents you you've lost touch with some of your friends you know just because he can't keep up with them. So as soon as you see these kids in the airport. I mean it doesn't change the way we feel all of us chaperones our -- Fella because -- liked him we didn't have and you know it's sort of non. It's one of those things where every every trip there is a million stories to tell me. Borderline -- kids who need a little push this year that. We're a little apprehensive maybe the parents didn't want them to go. Yeah I'm I think you know it it's always like one or two that I think come for. The girl's weekend. And it or do understand I know little things you know I just thought this front I bet I the girls we get into the hole and other that's upon them. Think it's amazing. We had Meyer who was a thirteen year old girl. That win the invitations went out she was. Really debating you know thirteen is so young to go away for a weekend and she thought I came to conclusions she could do this but you have to go home at night as we have because we get in Boston. And so you know we talked to mom and dad and you know we of course who wanted to stay because that's sort of where the bonding -- but we also wanted to go -- -- made that compromise and and so my -- my cane and was just amazing and is -- 5 o'clock the first night and she's coming out of our hotel room I'm standing right in front of the hotel room and she has -- I have to go downstairs and meet my mom and I said you are going home I thought. For a second I just like everything sank -- she does know she's coming with my back and staying. And I am I thought that to me it was it was what the whole weekend was about it doesn't have to be the girls we -- it was that everything we do for these kids with about it was. It was seeing a thirteen year old fight through their fear of being away from their mom and dad. Fight -- every fear they had and just choose to stay with kids going through what they're going what do you do for the girls when they do. On the guys we did what we did salon it's locking me -- very street and pull that off again November ha that's going to be really made we might have a surprised. OK okay that's got. You know we had their portraits taken at the end and that's how they want the most amazing things because I think the hole like -- of these teenage girls. Is they don't remember how beautiful they work or maybe -- even know how beautiful they Wear. And down. They get in this room and Doug is actually at dad's from our from our clinic and was treated for leukemia and he's the photographer him and his wife. Take these photos they take about five or six shots -- beat -- -- and there are these shots that you look at them you can look right through their soul. I swear it's something. It's about these kids it's about how we captures them how he learns who they are in a matter of five minutes and and you look at these photos and paying. You just feel blessed that these kids had this chance to note that yes I am beautiful yes like him strong. And that's that's. Really amazing. Lisa server director patient and family program to the Jimmy Fund clinic the play -- great to see you again.