Exposures: I Care: Her humor helps the healing of hospitalized children

Published: Monday, Mar. 25, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3B
Last Modified: Monday, Mar. 25, 2013 - 6:29 am

Cheerful music plays softly in the background of the sunny playroom at Sutter Children's Center, Sacramento. "Do you have a good memory, Edgar?" Child Life Program volunteer Susan Rumberg asks. Edgar McKnight, 11, who is tired of being hospitalized, replies with a confident "Yes!"

Rumberg laughs, and challenges him and his brother to a game of Memory Match. The feeling of confinement fades as they play a boisterous game.

The time Rumberg spends here is "a sacred commitment," she says. Her even temperament is soothing. Her sense of humor is invigorating. She heals through comfort and entertainment. "The goal of a child-life specialist is to make the environment as normal as possible," she says. "They are facing many challenges. A child needs to be a child, have the opportunity to play, interact with their peers and do what they do at home." To suggest a community volunteer for the I Care column, contact apayne@sacbee.com PHOTOGRAPHER'S BLOG Additional photographs and story. blogs.sacbee.com/exposures

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