Dignity Health | hello Healthy | Fall 2018

6 DignityHealth.org/Bakersfield | Fall 2018 Graduation is a proud moment in any student’s life. It’s meant to be filled with inspiring speeches, proud parents, and diplomas. Chipman Jr. High student Destiny Perez would have missed celebrating her big moment if not for the kindness of a caring staff member at Dignity Health – Memorial Hospital. Grace Wilhelm is a Child Life Specialist at Memorial’s Lauren Small Children’s Center. Wilhelm is there to calm and comfort children and their families during their hospital stay. She helps young patients understand and cope with medical experiences and prepares them for procedures. “I love to help our patients and their families get through these tough times and make their hospital stay a more positive experience,” says Wilhelm. A very special day Recently, Wilhelm did just that by helping Destiny celebrate her eighth-grade graduation. Destiny missed her graduation ceremony from Chipman Jr. High due to a surgery. “Her mom mentioned that she was missing her graduation,” says Wilhelm. “She even had perfect attendance—that’s a big accomplishment that needs to be recognized.” Wilhelm contacted Destiny’s school and, with a little planning, she arranged for a graduation ceremony to take place at Memorial’s children’s healing garden—complete with cap and gown, family, friends, and faculty. “Grace was so sweet,” says Maria Perez, Destiny’s mother. “She really wanted Destiny to feel special and be recognized. Destiny had no idea what to expect. When she saw all of the people who showed up to be there for her, she was so touched. We were both a bit emotional.” “It made me feel so special,” says Destiny. “I was so happy I got to see some of my teachers one last time before I moved on to high school.” This small gesture made a big impact on everyone involved. “It made me really proud to be at our hospital,” says Wilhelm. “I was so happy to help in a small way. It was very gratifying to see it all come together so we could honor Destiny.” “I just want to thank Grace for everything she did,” says Maria. “It made a big impact on Destiny.” Now that Destiny has graduated from eighth grade, she will attend Highland High. On Oct. 16, Wilhelm will be honored at Dignity Health’s Acts of Humankindness event in Las Vegas. Small gesture, big impact “When she saw all of the people who showed up to be there for her, she was so touched. We were both a bit emotional.” —Maria Perez GRADUATION