Patient to volunteer – making a difference

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) Elizabeth Lake knows what a difference Shriners Hospitals for Children can make, so she volunteered to be part of the Shriner difference.

“I was a patient at the Shriners Hospital in San Francisco in 1991. I was 17 and was there to correct hip dysplasia in my right hip. I was so thankful for all they did for me, and I swore I would try to repay them someday, says Elizabeth. “I have led a wonderfully normal life, when other doctors said I wouldn't.”

Elizabeth has volunteered in the Shriners Hospital School at the Northern California hospital for nearly 8 years, and now she and her big white dog Sebastian, a Great Pyrenees, are spreading joy to patients and families throughout the Northern California hospital as part of the pet therapy program.

“I love volunteering for many reasons. I like to meet the children and their parents and hear about their stories. I love to see how being in the schoolroom restores a sense of normalcy to patients, and now I love to see the smiles that Sebastian brings to, not only the children, but to the parents' faces,” says Elizabeth.

“It amazes me to see a child that is sobbing uncontrollably, just stop and smile the second Sebastian walks into the room,” she adds

Those smiles are clear indications of the positive difference Elizabeth Lake and her dog Sebastian are making in the lives of children at Shriners Hospital.