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News Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Former patient thriving as a volunteer and college student

Liliana reflects on her time as a patient and transition to volunteering

In 1996, Liliana, (better known as Lily) began her journey at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Houston at 3 years of age. Now 24, Lily is an active volunteer at our hospital, but she does not forget her time as a patient.

Lily was born with hip dysplasia. Her family was not aware at that time that Shriners Hospitals for Children — Houston offered specialized care in pediatric orthopaedics. They sought treatment at other Texas hospitals, but found that because they had financial constraints, they could not acquire the treatment needed for their daughter. Then they found Shriners Hospitals for Children — Houston, where not only could they get the level of care they desired for Lily, but could do so regardless of their ability to pay.

An appointment was made for Lily to see Douglas Barnes, M.D. Lily required continuous follow-up visits until at age 7, she had her first major surgery, understanding she would need a second surgery years later. When she was 14, Lily had her second major surgery.

Lily and JanetAfter the second surgery, Lily remembers having to be off of her leg and not walk for three months, “I was home schooled for that time period and going to rehab. At first I felt like I was missing out on a lot of things, like those joyous moments of being around others your age at school.” Despite this, Lily continued to think positively, “The physical therapists helped me, and I would begin to walk again, little by little, at home. Janet Dawson, was one of the physical therapists that I remember being by my side during this time."

During her rehabilitation, Lily discovered that she had a passion for drawing. “The medical team told me to avoid strenuous activities like running or jumping, so I relied on art to pass the time,” she said. Fast-forward a year and Lily, following the removal of stabilization screws that had been set during surgery, was walking normally. With a new found passion, she kept herself occupied in high school by having her work showcased in different venues. “I found that I really enjoyed art and communication, so when I started going to the university I knew that I wanted to go into digital media.”

Last year while attending the University of Houston, Lily’s path took her back to Shriners Hospitals for Children, in an unexpected way. “I was stuck in traffic headed to class when I decided to take a different route. My shortcut ended up taking me somewhere that seemed much too familiar. It was the same route I took with my mom when she would take me to the Houston Shriners Hospital! As I passed by the front of the hospital, I stopped and asked for information about volunteer opportunities.”

Today Lily has been volunteering for a year. She has been very active in helping out at hospital activities, taking pictures for the public relations department and being eager to lend a hand wherever she can. “My intention always was to give back to this hospital, after all I received from them. I recognize many of the staff members here from when I was a kid. I love being here, it is a place that always feels welcoming and is almost like a second family. Having this opportunity helps me with my digital media career. Volunteering was something I always wanted to do.”

Pictured (left): Lily with her physical therapist, Janet.