Volunteers with the Hearing Research Institute and Post #243 of the Jewish War Veterans USA visited children hospitalized during the holidays at Holtz Children’s Hospital and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. From left, in front, are Luis La Lama, Child Life Specialist Beke Pickard, Ainslee Ferdie and Marvin Dorn. From left, in back, are Graig Gamendia, Christina La Lama, Jennifer La Lama, Robert Pickard, David Magidson and Susan Pickard. -Photo provided to the Miami Herald
BY CHRISTINA MAYO
December 20, 2017 05:37 PM
Updated December 20, 2017 06:59 PM
For more than 30 years, physician Robert Pickard and his wife, Susan, have visited children hospitalized during the holidays.
Since 1990, they have increased their efforts through their Hearing Research Institute charity that helps deaf children and the elderly. Members of Post #243 of the Jewish War Veterans USA have joined them.
This year the volunteers brought toys, games, blankets and other presents to the little patients at Holtz Children’s Hospital and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
“This is our tradition for children who must be hospitalized over the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays,” Pickard said in an email.
He said Holtz Children’s Hospital Child Life Associate Anna Martinez and volunteer Serafina Choi led the group Dec. 10. Child Life Specialist and Mental Health Counselor Rebeccah (Beke) Pickard led the group Dec. 17 at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
Especially meaningful to the Pickard family is giving tiny rattles to the little patients in the neonatal intensive care units.
“We are visiting and giving presents to little souls,” Pickard said.
The Hearing Research Institute is responsible for the law in Florida mandating universal infant hearing screening since 2000. As a result of the law, which was authored by Pickard, thousands of newborn infants have been identified as deaf in one or both ears.
“This early identification has led to early intervention to maximize these children who otherwise were lost in a world of silence,” said Pickard, a practicing ear, nose, and throat physician in South Miami.
You can learn more about the Hearing Research Institute and its good works at http://hearingresearchinstitute.org.