Congratulations to the 2017 Community Advocacy Award Winners
Many local individuals and groups work hard to promote the well-being of children. Each year, OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois has the honor to recognize them for their tireless efforts. Here are this year’s honorees!
Bill Houlihan Professional Award
Kristin Aigner is a staff nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at OSF Children’s Hospital. She helped Dr. Ravi Vegunta and Dr. Rick Pearl start a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Clinic 14 years ago. Because of her determination and personal commitment, she organized a clinic that includes pediatric surgeons, pulmonologists, neuro-psychologists, neonatologists, dietitians, nurses, occupational therapists and physical therapists in one setting. The children and parents who often travel two to three hours can in one visit accomplish what previously required multiple trips to OSF Children’s Hospital. This unique clinic is one of a handful nationally.
Dr. Mary Shultz Physician Award
Dr. Penny Sandiford
Dr. Sandiford is a board-certified pediatric intensive care physician at OSF Children’s Hospital. In her role, she helps provide around-the-clock coverage for the most vulnerable pediatric patients. In order to provide the best possible care, Dr. Sandiford needs to maintain up-to-date expertise regarding a wide variety of severe medical conditions, and she must be able to quickly make the right decisions on patient care. Dr. Sandiford became board certified in the specialty of hospice and palliative care medicine in 2012. This extra training has enhanced her skills in pain management and other significant clinical symptoms to help care for pediatric patients with life-threatening diseases or trauma, as well as assisting their families.
Joey Stowell Youth Award
Kaitlyn is an eighth grade student at Bethel Lutheran School in Morton where she is required to complete a “Make a Difference” project. She heard about the Guardian Angel Residential Program through her involvement in her school’s 4-H group. Kaitlyn learned more about the youth in the program and how she could help. She thought of all the fun she had while riding her bike. To share that same feeling with the children at the Guardian Angel Home, she raised funds to purchase a new bike and helmet for each child by baking and selling cookies during the summer. By October, she earned enough money to purchase and anonymously present bikes and helmets to each child. She plans to continue raising money to meet other needs to benefit those in residential treatment.
Family House (Laura Blackaby, Executive Director)
Since 1985, Family House - a Healthcare Hospitality Network member - provides a home-like environment for families and children who are in the midst of a medical crisis or who are receiving outpatient health care services in the Peoria area. About 55 percent of Family House families either have a newborn or pediatric patient at OSF Children’s Hospital or are receiving treatment from the St. Jude Midwest Affiliate. Family House impacts the lives of over 780 children annually. In the past year, Family House provided more than 3,400 nights of stay to 1,823 families.
Christine Zak-Edmonds Volunteer Award
For over four decades, Vicki Bahr has been involved with numerous activities that help children both within and outside of OSF Children’s Hospital. Vicki never seeks attention for herself, but always attempts to elevate others. She has been an OSF Children’s Hospital Community Advisory Board member for over a decade. She has chaired the Congenital Heart Committee, organized the Community Advisory Board mentoring program, assisted the Dancers with Heart fund raiser, served on the By-Law Restructuring Committee, volunteered for the BMW Golf Outing, participated on the Development Committee and created the silent auction for the Jim Thome fundraising events. Active in many roles with the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon since 1988, Vicki has served as a VIP, organized food donors and deliveries, recruited fundraising groups and worked as a VIP trainer. She volunteers for advocacy activities and chairs the Award Committee. Vicki and her husband, Randy, supported the new OSF Children’s Hospital project and were instrumental in establishing the OSF Children’s Hospital Flexible Endowment. As a Take Pride in Peoria Commission member, Vicki created the Taste of Peoria and chaired and coordinated the first two events. She also started the first downtown Peoria holiday celebrations.