Allegra and Dan Scheirer came to know Packard Children’s
Hospital via the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). In 2006, their son,
Jeremy, was born a month and half premature, and required weeks of specialized
medical care before he was able to go home.
During this difficult period, the Scheirers were struck by
the challenges faced by non-English-speaking parents, and by the visible relief
when families were matched with an interpreter. During the discharge process,
they also observed that many parents could not afford a car seat to take their
baby home. In these cases, the Hospital provided a donated car seat for the
Dan and Allegra Scheirer
The Scheirers were so taken with Packard’s assistance for
families that they decided to support interpreter and car seat services at the
Hospital. The couple became leadership donors to the Children’s Fund in 2006
and have made annual gifts ever since.
“When you have a very sick child, your life is turned over,”
explains Dan. “Packard took care of many needs—for us as well as for other
families in the NICU.”
Sadly, the Scheirers’ familiarity with hospitals preceded
Jeremy’s birth. Several years earlier, the couple suffered the heartbreaking
loss of their twins, Grant and Julia, just hours after birth. Although this
took place in another state, Allegra and Dan’s growing interest in Packard led
them to meet other bereaved parents who shared their desire to become more
deeply involved with the Children’s Hospital.
In collaboration with the Palliative Care team at Packard,
Allegra joined other parents to help establish the Family Partners program.
This group serves as advisors to the Palliative Care service, engages in
teaching and speaking regarding the experiences of bereaved parents, and has
developed bereavement kits available hospital-wide in English and Spanish. The
kits contain materials to help parents and siblings memorialize and celebrate
their loved ones.
Allegra and Dan’s experience inspired them to support
Palliative Care in addition to the Children’s Fund. “Packard helped to root us
in the community after our loss, and we are so lucky to be able to give back,”
The Scheirers continue to celebrate Grant and Julia’s
birthday, and recently marked the 6th anniversary of their birth by donating a
set of Spanish-language children’s books, including some of Jeremy’s favorites,
to Packard’s Family Resource Center,
where the need for non-English books is great.
“It’s important to us that people understand we are
the parents of three kids, with one surviving,” says Allegra. “Being volunteers
and donors allows us to be the best parents we can be to our children.”