Feb 18, 2014
American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine
Dr. David Steinhorn, George Mark's Medical Director, will speak at the Annual Assembly of American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine in San Diego this March. His pre-conference Workshop on Wednesday, March 12 is titled "Overcoming Access Barriers to Home-Based Pediatric Palliative Care: A Perspective From California." On Thursday, March 13 he will be presenting "Enhancing Home Palliative Care for Children Through Telehealth."
Dec 16, 2013
The latest George Mark Newsletter is available on line.
Read it here!
Dec 9, 2013
Your gift will provide comfort and joy to families...
The best thing about being a George Mark family
is a word that might seem out of place…
That word is ‘joy.’
When our baby George was born, we were overjoyed. When we learned about his terminal diagnosis, we were devastated. When George defied all the doctors and we discovered we would have more time, we were bewildered. How could we live in an indefinite state of grief and sadness? How could we be joyful with George and give him a joyful life knowing that he was going to die?
The very fact that George Mark Children’s House exists helped us to
truly enjoy our time with George, even in the midst of our despair.
We hope that you will consider supporting this amazing organization with a donation today.
We are privileged to be part of the family at George Mark Children’s House and honored to share with you a bit about our beautiful boy George. Recently, we celebrated what would have been his third birthday.
We spent the first six weeks of George’s life at Children’s Hospital in Oakland (CHO). Remarkably, his condition remained stable. We were absolutely terrified to take him home. We were first time parents; we had never changed a diaper, let alone a feeding tube. It was scary knowing he might pass at any moment. Thankfully, our good friends at CHO convinced us to visit George Mark Children’s House, and that tour changed our lives.
We came to George Mark Children’s House for two weeks for the Transitional Care service provided to families who are transitioning from the hospital to caring for their child in their own homes. Those two weeks gave us three things: confidence, comfort, and a sense of normalcy.
We became confident because the team at George Mark Children’s House taught us how to care for our son medically and how to help him develop the gifts and talents that he was given. Had we not been given that confidence, the time we had with George would not have been as enjoyable because we would have been worrying about all the little details of how to care for him.
We were very comfortable at George Mark Children’s House. It is a home. We moved out of our little corner in the hospital and into a beautiful room at George Mark where we had a bathroom, a crib, a bed, a dresser, and a TV. In that room, we were able to experience a sense of normalcy. One of our favorite memories with our son happened at George Mark. Sean had always hoped to watch Saturday college football with our son. One Saturday morning, George lay on Sean’s chest and they got to watch a game on TV together. Sean was a very happy dad that day.
We couldn’t go to story time at the library or join a Gymboree class, but George Mark Children’s House was a place where we could bring George and just be a family with other families that were in situations like we were.
While we were at George Mark for Transitional Care, George also got to do fun things like hydrotherapy and music therapy. After we left, we brought George back for the holiday party where he met Santa Claus. We came back for music therapy and attended the summer picnic where George met Kelda the therapy dog and fell inlove with her.
When the time came, George Mark Children’s House was a beautiful and peaceful place to say goodbye. The George Mark family took care of us at that juncture in our journey. And they enabled us to take care of our baby boy even in death. End of Life Care at George Mark was so much more than having a place with nurses to help us when our baby was dying.
The George Mark community helped us to be joyful in our grief. They provided a foundation of joy on which we could build George’s life, which is an amazing gift.
Now that George is gone we’re still a George Mark family and we can still come here to remember our little boy with other people who knew him and other families like ours.
Last year George got a little sister. Her name is Lucy. Lucy has already visited George Mark Children’s House a few times. This will be a way that she can know about her brother and know about the true meaning of the word joy.
George Mark Children’s House is a unique and special organization. We would like to thank all of the George Mark team for taking care of us the last three years. We would also like to say thank you to all of the donors, supporters and partners that help families like ours in times that feel very dark. You give families like ours joy with our loved ones. Thank you all very much.
From our family to yours, we wish you comfort and joy ‐
Sean and Alison Eddy
P.S. Please consider making your year‐end gift to support George Mark Children’s House this holiday season.
Dec 3, 2013
Support Groups for Families
Family Resource Network of Oakland has several ongoingsupport groups as well as some special ones scheduled for the holidays. Please click here to see a special schedule and visit their website for more information.
Nov 7, 2013
You make a difference...
Let me tell you how your support can help families facing one of life’s most difficult situations by sharing the story of a mother and her son who recently came to George Mark Children’s House…
Michael died at George Mark Children’s House earlier this year, just shy of his 13th birthday. Throughout his life, getting support for Michael’s healthcare had been a major struggle for his mother Allison.
“I was so grateful for George Mark Children’s House. Everyone was sweet, supportive and loving. I didn’t have to fight anymore.”
Allison explains, “For 13 years I was Michael’s big bulldozer mama tiger trying to make things happen for him.” She often had to fight to get the care Michael needed, but at George Mark Children’s House she and her son could just be together peacefully and receive care in a way that made them feel in control and comfortable. For this, Allison is extremely grateful.
Although Michael was born healthy, he developed meningitis at just 18 days old. Seizures kept him in the hospital for several weeks. After his condition stabilized, Michael went home with his mother. But at two months old he developed hydrocephaly and underwent surgery to have a shunt put in his brain.
Many care providers repeatedly warned Allison that her life with Michael would be difficult. Some even tried to persuade her to give him up. But Allison remembers fondly that Michael came out of surgery happy and smiling. That was the moment she knew that if Michael was going to fight for his life, then she would fight, too.
Allison believes that Michael helped her realize her own life’s purpose: “He taught me persistence and perseverance. Before he was born I wasn’t doing what I needed to be doing with my life.” A single mother, Allison was inspired to return to college when Michael was young. After completing her bachelor’s degree she went on to graduate school to earn a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is now completing her licensing requirements and currently works as a social worker with parents of special needs children.
As Michael’s health declined and it became clear to Allison that his time on earth was coming to an end, she was relieved to find George Mark Children’s House. In January 2013, Allison and Michael arrived to spend the last nine days of Michael’s life together. The staff and volunteers at George Mark were inspired by Michael in many of the same ways she was. Allison says, “He changed many people’s lives. He taught me to appreciate the little things in life. He helped people understand what it means to be disabled and to provide unconditional love. He was brought to teach love and respect to me and to everyone he met.”
Because Allison felt that Michael was understood and appreciated by George Mark staff, she felt buoyed throughout Michael’s last days.
“Being at George Mark Children’s House for the end of Michael’s life was a good way to honor an amazing kid. I didn’t have to worry about things while I was here like I would in a hospital or even at home.”
While she still struggles with Michael’s death, the sense of peace and closure she gained from her time at George Mark Children’s House helps her feel supported to move on to the next chapter in her life, while keeping Michael’s memory alive.
Please make your donation to help moms and kids like Allison and Michael today.
Director of Advancement
P.S. Your support provides peace and the gift of time so that families can simply be together when it’s most important.
I wish everyone with a very special child were able to find the care of GMCH.