Child cancer patients return to Arnold Palmer hospital as adults to say thanks

Breanne Anderson and Lake EMS EMT Christopher Didier, both former cancer patients and current employees at Arnold Palmer Children's hospital reflect on the care they received that kept them alive and motivated them to return to give back as adults.

Breanne Anderson and Lake EMS EMT Christopher Didier, both former cancer patients and current employees at Arnold Palmer Children’s hospital reflect on the care they received that kept them alive and motivated them to return to give back as adults.

The Arnold Palmer Medical Center has been around long enough that children who were patients there decades ago are now as old as the nurses who cared for them at the time. Celebrating its 25th anniversary on Wednesday, Arnold Palmer has treated more than 145,000 children, some of whom chose careers in health care when they grew up. “I told Dr. [Vincent] Guisti at 13 that I would be back some day and be working here,” said Breanne Anderson, 35.

To Christopher Didier, being around the oncology staff and other children with cancer at Arnold Palmer was — aside from the needles and chemotherapy — some of the happiest times of his childhood. There were games and ice cream and pizza and getting your bald head painted. “Cancer is a bad thing. It hurts, it’s stressful, emotional,” said Didier, 32. “But it seems like when I wasn’t in the hospital, I wasn’t having a good time.”

That experience as a child convinced Didier to choose a career in health care. “I wanted to give something back for the experience I had as a kid,” said Didier, who works as a Lake EMS emergency medical technician and an on-call EMT for Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.

Read the complete article at Orlando Sentinel.

Lake EMS Training Officer Receives State Honor for Photo

Mike Hilliard, Lake EMS Paramedic/Training Officer

Mike Hilliard, Lake EMS Paramedic/Training Officer

Lake Emergency Medical Services is proud to announce that Michael R. Hilliard, Paramedic/Training Officer, was honored at the Florida State Department of Health, EMS Awards Ceremony held on July 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Caribe Royale Hotel and Convention Center in Orlando. Michael Hilliard received the award for the Photo of the Year which is given to an individual or organization that best depicts this year’s National EMS Week theme: “EMS: Dedicated. For Life.”

EMS Dedicated For Life.

EMS: Dedicated for Life – Photo by Michael Hilliard

During his acceptance speech at the awards ceremony Wednesday evening, Michael Hilliard explained that his photograph echoes the National EMS Memorial in Colorado Springs, Colorado which honors EMS line of duty deaths. The memorial is a Tree of Life represented by an oak tree, which symbolizes the strength of the EMS profession. The name of each National EMS Memorial Service honoree that has passed, their agency, and the date of loss is engraved on a bronze oak leaf, which is then added to the Tree of Life.

Michael Hilliard also paid homage to his friends and colleagues in the EMS field who have passed, stating, “This photograph is dedicated to those who have been our friends, who have guided us in our ways, and who made an impact to the communities in which we serve. To Joe Dragojevich, to Brian Gibson, to David DeLand, to Don MacIntyre, and to Matt Jeton; thank you for your dedication to life and to your families who supported your endeavors.”

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