When she was just 16 months old, Ellis Pietroniro grabbed a mug filled with hot water that spilled and burned her chest, shoulder and arm. Immediately, her parents brought her to a local hospital in New Hampshire from which she was later transported to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston.
“The hospital staff made themselves available to answer any questions I had and even encouraged me to call if needed,” said Ellis’ mother Wendy. “I was given thorough instructions about how to care for Ellis at home and truly felt supported by the staff.”
Now 8 years old, Ellis continually looks for ways to give back to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston as a way of saying thank you for the excellent care she received.
Each year Ellis’ school in New Hampshire adds an extra week to their February break known as “Projects Period.” “The mission of the school is to teach kids that along with education, service to others is of the utmost importance,” said Wendy. Ellis decided that the perfect project was to make goodie bags for children to enjoy as they wait in the clinic.
Ellis accomplished this task impeccably. According to her mother, Ellis spent two hours deciding what to purchase and put into each goodie bag. She then went shopping and organized the bags – spending a total of five hours to put them together. Ellis came to the Boston Shriners Hospital to deliver the bags herself earlier this month. Ellis hopes to present her project to her classmates to teach them more about burn injuries and encourage others to donate.
This is not the first time Ellis has given back to the hospital that treated her when she was so young. When she was both 3 and 5 years old, she asked her party guests to bring donations for the children at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston, instead of gifts. Ellis plans on doing the same thing at her party this year.
"I have two reasons I am motivated to volunteer at the hospital and help other patients. The first reason is because I was a patient there before and they took good care of me. The second reason is because I want to help the kids feel better and have some fun while they're in the hospital and getting better," said Ellis.
Though she does not remember much about her hospital stay, Ellis and her family know that the work the Boston Shriners Hospital does is invaluable. “They must have taken good care of me because all I have left is a little scar smaller than a dime! I'm lucky I was able to go to Shriners,” said Ellis.
Pictured (top right): Brooke Allen, child life specialist, accepting Ellis’ goodie bag donation
Pictured (above): Ellis’ presentation to her classmates about her Boston Shriners Hospital donations