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news News Tuesday, July 2, 2019 Tuesday, July 2, 2019 10:19 AM - Tuesday, July 2, 2019 10:19 AM

Meet Annamaria, our newest patient ambassador

Resilient and passionate, she shares her incredible story with us

Meet Annamaria, our newest patient ambassador

Annamaria, we would love to hear your story. What would you like to share?

I was burned in 2016 from a fire at my church when I was 14 years old. It felt like time stopped and my mind shut down. I felt as if I was going to faint, but I did my best to calm down. The ambulance arrived and took me to the Mass General ER. There, I was told that I was going to be transferred to the Boston Shriners Hospital down the street. I had second and third degree burns so Dr. Sheridan, my doctor at Shriners, performed skin grafting surgery. Over the course of the next year I had to wear pressure garments and return to Shriners for follow up appointments.

We’ve heard that you are always looking to give back to Shriners Hospitals for Children. What makes you so passionate about it?

I really want to give back to Shriners [Hospitals] because they have done so much for me. They cared for me in my most difficult moments, and encouraged me to keep on going when I thought I couldn’t do anything. Shriners, in a sense, has become like my second home. I’m so passionate about giving back to Shriners because they truly want the best for their patients. They treated me with so much kindness and compassion, making sure that I was confident and safe every step of the way. The child life specialists really helped me when I was in the hospital, and they still do!

What does being a Shriners Hospitals for Children patient ambassador mean to you?

Being a patient ambassador to me, means that I get to advocate for all of the past, present and future patients. Having a burn injury is not even close to being easy, but having someone there that’s gone through a similar experience can make such a difference. I want to connect with patients, let them know that it won’t last forever, especially if they are having a difficult time dealing with the emotional trauma. I have PTSD from my injury, but the staff here has helped me extensively dealing with it.

What are you most excited about for the future?

In the future I hope to become a child life specialist and work at Shriners [Hospitals for Children] because I want to continue giving back and stay connected. Having the child life specialists helped me so much when I was getting my stent removed for my graft. They literally held my hand through it all to calm me down.

What activities, hobbies or other interests do you enjoy participating in?

In school I enjoy being part of Model UN club, and in the summer I have a vegetable garden that I maintain.

Do have any favorite memories or favorite staff at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston?

Some of my favorite staff at Shriners are Dr. Rob Sheridan, the child life specialists (Rebecca and Brooke) and the outpatient nursing staff. One of my favorite memories was when I got my picture taken with the Boston Bruins in the outpatient department!

Thank you Annamaria for sharing your story! We can’t wait to see all the amazing work you’ll continue to do!

Annamaria in Greece

Pictured: (top right) Annamaria, (bottom) Annamaria, spending a well-deserved vacation in Greece.