During her childhood and teenage years, UCLA Medical Center was Vicky’s home away from home.
Vicky was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia when she was two months old and received two liver transplants, the first at just two years old and the second when she was sixteen. Vicky spent time in the hospital during her transplants and would also be hospitalized weeks at a time from common childhood illnesses because her immune system was suppressed due to the transplant.
“I spent endless days, weeks and even months in a hospital room, going through painful procedures, feeling sick, being alone and waiting to get well,” said Vicky. “It really impacted my childhood. Thankfully Starlight Children’s Foundation was there to help make UCLA Medical Center my home away from home.”
Vicky would take a break from her hospital room and visit the Starlight Site, a beautifully designed playroom that served as an escape from the isolation of a hospital room, to enjoy doing “fun kid’s things.” She would borrow Monopoly to play for hours at a time with her sister when she visited. Vicky also benefited from one of the first Fun Center units with an extensive video collection that nurses would roll right up to her bedside.
“I can truly say that Starlight Children’s Foundation has made a direct difference for the good in my life,” said Vicky. “Without them, I would have had a hard time overcoming my medical challenges, and overcoming those challenges has shaped me into the person I am today.”
Today, Vicky has a career where she gets to make a direct difference in people’s lives just like Starlight did for her. As the Multicultural Community Development Coordinator for OneLegacy, she reaches out to communities to raise awareness for people to become registered organ and tissue donors.
“I want to thank Starlight Children’s Foundation for its dedication to children who are sick in hospitals,” said Vicky. “Your mission will live through the children you have impacted, like me.”