Through their gifts of time, energy and love, Kendall and Betty Booth have provided caring and continuing relations with the young patients at Miller Children's Long Beach Memorial Medical Center for the past 10 years.
Years ago, Kendall and Betty lost one of their own grandchildren to a brain tumor. Today, as retired professionals and grandparents, they have transformed their own loss into love, compassion and patience with other similarly afflicted children.
Between March of 1989 and September of 1998, Kendall volunteered a total of 12,196 hours. Betty, who began her volunteer service a little earlier, has volunteered 12,246 hours. Betty has faced a number of her own health challenges but regardless of her own discomfort, she is always available to hold a hand, to play cards and to offer a friendly smile to hospitalized children. The patients know her as "Grandma Betty" and just the promise of her arrival always brings a smile to a patient's face.
Kendall plays his own important role. As coordinator of the Grandparents Program at the hospital, he selects the volunteers who will serve as surrogate grandparents for children who might not have family members available to nurture and care for them during a hospital stay. His understanding of the nature of serious pediatric illness, the importance of dedicated, trained volunteers and his personal familiarity with the individual children assist in his successful recruitment and retention of volunteers.
Parents have expressed relief from the Boothss kindness and compassion. Many have drawn comfort from the knowledge that two such caring individuals were there to sit with their children in lonely and scary times and to provide a thoughtful and comforting word to parents and patients alike.