From the moment you meet Eliana Gill, you notice her warm eyes and welcoming smile. Wearing her red uniform jacket and name badge, this is a young woman who clearly has a passion for volunteering at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.
Eliana was introduced to TSRHC three years ago when she was a senior at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin. She had been experiencing pain and stiffness in her hips and legs, and she was unconvinced by her pediatrician’s opinion that it was growing pains. Without a proper diagnosis, Eliana felt frustrated and alone in her pain.
Her parents took her to a sports medicine doctor who determined that she might have hip dysplasia and referred her to Texas Scottish Rite’s Center for Excellence in Hip Disorders for an MRI, official diagnosis and treatment.
An equestrian and competitive show jumper, Eliana underwent hip surgery and spent six days as an in-patient at TSRHC. Afterward, she spent three months in a wheelchair relearning how to walk, but it wasn’t long before she was back on her horse and riding in the Texas Hill Country.
She credits the supportive care of TSRHC’s volunteers and staff, especially the nurses, on her excellent progress. Her experience at the hospital influenced her to volunteer one night a week and visit with patients.
Every Wednesday, Eliana spends time with children in the in-patient ward of the hospital. From delivering snacks and bed linens to playing games and making crafts, Eliana knows firsthand what an impact these volunteer visits can have on a patient.
She remembers her first hospital visit with a laugh. “I was your typical teenager — cocky, not scared — and I thought it was no big deal. At first.”
That’s when Eliana laid eyes on the giant needles that were going to inject dye into her body for the MRI, and her stomach dropped. Arwen, Eliana’s first nurse at TSRHC, helped comfort her and alleviate her fears.
“I remember Arwen standing by me, and she grabbed both of my hands, and I felt so much less scared and so safe,” Eliana says.
That moment changed the course of Eliana’s life and inspired her to become a nurse herself. Finishing her junior year at Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing, Eliana is on track to become a pediatric nurse and offer her patients the same care and support that she received as a patient at TSRHC.
“I want to make people feel secure and well cared for — that’s my goal.”
She is certainly well on her way.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, visit http://www.tsrhc.org/volunteer.
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children has been caring for children since 1921. TSRHC treats children with orthopedic conditions, such as scoliosis, clubfoot, hand disorders, hip disorders and limb length differences, as well as certain related neurological disorders and learning disorders such as dyslexia. Please visit us online at TSRHC.org or Facebook.org/tsrhc, or call us at 214-559-5000 for additional information.