Grant helps All Children's Hospital patients receive instruction

Posted at 6:30 PM, Aug 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-19 22:33:55-04

Gary would love to be a normal 12-year-old heading to the seventh grade. But, his mom said, that's impossible.

"He's going to miss the whole year," Michelle Miller said.
Gary suffers from sickle cell anemia, his mother says. In her son's case, that means a bone marrow transplant, chemo treatments and countless consultations with doctors.

"If he gets an infection, that can cause death," Miller said.
It's why Kate Helck wears full scrubs whenever she sees Gary. She's not one of his physicians, but she sees him just as often.

Gary is just one of the hundreds of patients Helck teaches at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital.
"I do math, science, social studies, English and language arts," Helck said.

Kate and another teacher are part of the hospital's staff.
"It is huge," said Alicia Riggs, the hospital's academic coordinator.

Riggs said most hospitals have some type of classroom education, but the teacher's are brought in from the district, which means if the kids are being seen by a doctor or in treatment they might miss the visit.

Not at this hospital. In addition to district help, a $100,00 government grant enabled them to have teachers on site. Already parents are seeing the difference.

"This mom looked at us and she was crying. She said this is amazing. She said, 'Where was this last year?'" Riggs said.

The goal now is to keep this program going. It is an annual grant.

Miller certainly hopes it continues.

"Education is the most important thing," Miller said.
Now that the hospital has that covered, she and her son can focus on getting him healthy and fulfilling his dream of going to school.