Believe in Tomorrow: First Lady JoLynn Dickins
Believe in Tomorrow: First Lady JoLynn Dickins
Hello, I'm Jolynn Dickins, First Lady of Shriners International. I am so honored to be this year's Chair of Women Impacting Care. It's a privilege to work with the extraordinary women connected to Shriners International. We share a common vision that revolves around the power of belief and the boundless possibilities that lie within tomorrow. Together we support the Shriners Children's Healthcare System and the life-changing care found there.
This year, with the theme Believe in Tomorrow, we are working to support Shriners Children's efforts in assisting teenage patients as they transition out of our pediatric healthcare system.
Throughout the entire process of me being treated at Shriners Children, they were very dedicated to finding what I want to do with my life. They weren't really doctors, they were more like friends, and it kind of just helped me build my confidence to kind of just transfer over to being independent.
Turning 18 is a milestone for every teen. It means officially becoming an adult, and with it come the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood. Teens and families may feel both excited and nervous as this milestone approaches. For teens who live with complex medical conditions, turning 18 also comes with the need to transition from the pediatric to the adult healthcare world.
Any other doctors, I would've been told I have limits of what I can do, but I didn't at Shriners Children's and they talked to me about my goals and I've always wanted a family and at hospitals before, it was always, "Well, you might. You might be able to have kids one day." But at Shriners it's, "You will and you'll have the life that you want." And I have definitely been in that situation where you feel no hope and you don't know where to go next and how to change and better your situation. But with Shriner's Children's, they give you the hope that you need to continue in.
We recognize the unique challenges these young individuals face, especially when it comes to finding appropriate specialty medical care, learning to be independent, and advocating for their own health with reduced parental support. This is where our collective strength and dedication shine the brightest. Believe In Tomorrow provides a pathway to ensure that Shriners Children's patients and their families have the best and most current resources to be successful as they exit our pediatric healthcare system.
This pathway of support includes online and in-person education, internal medical, and clinical staff training, advocacy, and recruitment of medical practitioners, and our healthcare entities that are committed to support our patients with their future care needs.
We have taken care of some of these young people for 17, 18, 19, 20 years. And then all of a sudden we are willing to just pat them on the back and say, "Go have a good life?" "What am I going to do when the Shriners not there?" And we're there with the patients. And it's our place to answer that, if you will. I mean, what do they do? And we should take this as our responsibility.
Now that we've treated you as a patient of ours and we've transitioned how you can adapt to live in society now, we should also be able to direct you in such a way that you can have the ability to know where to go for continued care.
Believing in tomorrow means believing in the immense potential that lies within each and every one of our young patients. It means recognizing their unique abilities and providing them with the tools they need to thrive. It means fostering an environment of compassion, understanding, and encouragement where they can develop the confidence to advocate for themselves and make informed decisions about their healthcare.
I became a patient with the Shriners Healthcare System at three weeks old, I was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, better known as brittle bone disease. So my bones break easily. Over the course of my life, I'm almost 23, I've had 45 fractures and 14 surgeries.
I had a fantastic, fantastic team that took care of me from infancy into adulthood. For me, it was a big fear of what happens next? What happens after Shriners? Who do I see? Who's going to know how to take care of me and meet my needs? With having a transitional program firmly in place, what it means is patients don't have to worry about the future. It means that we can be grateful for the care that we've received as children and be confident that our care is going to stay the same quality as adults.
At Shriners Children's, caring for our inspiring patients is a continuous journey, one that requires our unwavering commitment and dedication. By embracing the power of belief, we can shape a brighter tomorrow for our patients and ensure that their transition into adulthood is filled with hope, opportunity, and the promise of a remarkable future.
I was involved in a cooking accident as a young kid, received some thermal injuries to about a third of my body, and ultimately it was decided that I go here to Shriners Hospital to receive treatment. And it really just set the ball in motion for the rest of my life here. It's just incredible. When you stop and look at the extent of the injuries that I received and just the fact that I've been able to live such a normal everyday life. Played sports in high school, in college even. I actually just completed my first Boston Marathon. I've done a swim from Alcatraz to the shore, and I truly, truly credit that to Shriners. For life beyond the immediate care here is truly incredible. To be able to go forward and know if you need specific care or if you need to reach out to somebody. They really prepare you for that and they do it in a very nurturing way, where you feel comfortable to reach back out to them if need be, but you also feel comfortable to take steps on your own to grow as a person and to really face the world.
As we began putting our Women Impacting Care program together, I knew the feather would be a perfect symbol for Believe In Tomorrow. In many cultures, the white feather is seen as a sign of hope and promise. In the Native American tradition, the white feather is often given to someone to remind them that they are not alone and that there is still beauty in this world. I want our Shriners Children's kids to know they have protectors and guardians looking out for them as they leave our healthcare system and enter society to create a new life for themselves.
To support Women Impacting Care, you may make donations online or purchase our beautiful Believe In Tomorrow themed products. Thank you all for being a part of this incredible movement and for your generous support. Together let us inspire and empower the patients of Shriners Children's to step forward into adulthood ready to reach for their dreams.