Foundation of CVPH Helps Kids Ride to Operating Room in Style

A smiling and giggling child heading into surgery and a big sigh of relief for the parents are being made possible every day thanks to the many generous donors of The Foundation of Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH).

Four-year-old Mila LaPier hopped into a mini-Mercedes Benz and took it for a spin before her dental procedure at CVPH. Since she’s a little too young for her driver’s license, LaPier’s father, Whitney, did the steering with a remote control. There was a big smile on the little girl’s face while she took a few laps around the pre-op area, not something you would typically expect to see with a child just before going into the operating room.

“It was so fun, and it just calmed us down,” admits Catherine LaPier, Mila’s mother. “It brought her stress level down, and I know it was a big help for me to see her having fun like that. Everyone laughed and honestly, I think the staff got a kick out of it, too.”

The pre-op car ride has been a staple for children and their parents since the beginning of the year. It was purchased through a mini-grant program offered by The Foundation of CVPH. The staff have noticed a big difference in the kids, and their parents, as they come in for a variety of specialty procedures, including dental, ear, nose and throat (ENT) and urology.

“The kids come in, their eyes get big, and they see there is something cool they can play with,” Charity Frusco, Perioperative Support Technician and Safety Advocate at the hospital, explains. “So they’re not just sitting, waiting and worrying about the procedure. They’re more comfortable, which helps relieve the anxiety of the parents, who are often stressed about their child having to go through the procedure, and it makes for a better experience all around.”

In addition to the remote-controlled car, the mini-grant helped pay for a karaoke machine, a CD player, several CDs filled with songs for children, hundreds of small toys in the waiting room and even bubbles to play with in pre-op. In all, The Foundation provided more than $220,000 in funding for new equipment, advanced training, and staff education throughout CVPH, including:

  • Blood pressure cuffs to help patients successfully transition home from the hospital.
  • Art and craft supplies to aid in creating a calming environment for patients in our Child and Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry Units.
  • New exercise equipment for physical therapy and cardiac rehabilitation patients.

The Foundation is able to fund dozens of mini-grant requests each year, which anyone employed by the hospital can apply for.

“Our teams are passionate about delivering expert, state-of-the-art care and improving the patient experience any way they can. We’re proud to support that through our mini-grant program, which wouldn’t be possible without the kindness and generosity of our community members who give to The Foundation,” Kerry Haley, CFRE, Associate Vice President of Philanthropy at CVPH.

LaPier says she deeply appreciates the care the hospital’s perioperative services team provided to her daughter and the entire family and is grateful that many people in the community are willing to support programs like this to make the patient experience even better.

“I just want to say thank you so much to The Foundation and all of the people who generously give to them. It doesn’t always have to be a big piece of equipment,” LaPier says. “Things like that car and the toys, those are a really big deal for so many families in our community.”

“I think The Foundation and all of the donors out there are such a huge asset to the hospital. They make things like this possible. What they offer is invaluable to our patients and our teams,” Frusco adds.

For more information on the many programs The Foundation supports and to donate, visit UVMHealth.org/CVPHFoundation.

Special video link of Mila driving the mini-Mercedes Benz to surgery: https://uvmhealth.imagerelay.com/share/Mila-CVPH-OR-Car-Ride

Mila LaPier (front) takes a ride around the pre-op area at The University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH), as her father, Whitney LaPier, steers the mini-car and her mother Catherine LaPier looks on. Catherine LaPier says she is grateful for The Foundation and its donors, which helped pay for the car and other items for children to enjoy before their procedures at the hospital, adding, “It took down the anxiety level so much for Mila, Whitney and I to see her laughing and smiling before her surgery!”

Mila LaPier sports a big smile as she rides around the pre-op area at The University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) in a mini Mercedes Benz before her dental procedure. The car was paid for through a grant program from The Foundation of CVPH. Learn more about how you can make a difference for patients of any age at the hospital or send a donation by visiting UVMHealth.org/CVPHFoundation.