Supporting CHLA During the Pandemic

Published on 
June 26, 2020

By Marla Lehner

Mary Adams O’Connell, who donated to CHLA’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, wants to ensure the hospital has the resources to fight the coronavirus outbreak—while continuing to care for kids in the community.

Supporting CHLA During the Pandemic - Imagine Summer 2020 | Children's Hospital Los AngelesMary Adams O’Connell has been a member of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles community for as long as she can remember. Her mother supported the hospital, and as a teenager Adams O’Connell volunteered at CHLA—an experience she will never forget.

“I remember one patient in particular, a young girl who came in without any parental support and needed surgery,” Adams O’Connell recalls. “I saw the hospital staff just wrap their arms around this child and support her. It was amazing to see. Medically, they took great care of her, but it was the emotional support that really drew me into the hospital.”

Adams O’Connell, who joined the CHLA Board of Trustees two decades ago, currently chairs the Advocacy Committee within the hospital’s Foundation Board of Trustees. Her longstanding connections to the hospital inspired her to generously support the new COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.

“There’s an urgent need now for the hospital to have support,” she says. “The staff has had to adapt the way they work and implement new processes. They screen everybody who comes into the hospital, perform specialized coronavirus tests, and they have an increased need for PPE (personal protective equipment). It’s just a huge undertaking for the hospital, and I wanted to do what I could to help.”

The COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund allows CHLA to meet evolving needs during the outbreak, including launching lab testing, creating new safety protocols, enabling remote work capabilities, providing daily meals for employees, and developing a robust network to conduct virtual appointments.

“There’s an urgent need now for the hospital to have support.”

—Mary Adams O'Connell

Adams O’Connell is particularly grateful for the team members who provide compassionate care for vulnerable kids battling chronic health conditions and life-threatening illnesses during these challenging circumstances.

“All of us know how terrific the staff are—the nurses, the doctors and everybody,” she says. “They are working so hard on behalf of patients and families who need them. It’s an amazingly difficult time for all health care workers, and it’s important that we support those folks on the front lines. They are just amazing. I can’t thank them enough for what they are doing every day.”

Adams O’Connell hopes that she can inspire others to support Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to ensure it will always be there for kids, adolescents and families. “If someone can support an institution now, it should be CHLA,” she says. “The work they do there never stops, and the community needs the hospital now more than ever.”  CHLA-Imagine-2016-Butterfly-Icon.png

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