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An Eye-Opening Experience

Matt and Karen Johnson

Matt Johnson used to think of hospitals as gloomy places with sick people and intimidating medical equipment. So when his wife, Karen, signed them up for a day-long, behind-the-scenes experience at Cook Children's Medical Center, he was less than thrilled.

Karen, on the other hand, was excited about the opportunity. Having grown up in Fort Worth, she was very familiar with Cook Children's and couldn't wait to learn more.

Karen and Matt were both taught the importance of helping others from a young age and believed in carrying on the tradition with their own family. Karen knew that Cook Children's was the perfect place for their family to get involved and volunteer.

Though Matt didn't disagree, he was not excited about the Cook Children's tour. In the end, he came under protest, after giving Karen the silent treatment for weeks leading up to that day.

Karen and Matt spent their morning apart, each learning about different parts of Cook Children's. When they met at lunch, Matt told Karen that so far, it was exactly what he expected.

Then Matt spent a few hours with Louis White, a Security Services ambassador who spends part of his week working in the Child Life department. Matt's outlook was transformed, as he watched Louis interact with the patients. As they played, they no longer looked like "sick kids in a gloomy hospital."

"It's difficult to put the actual experience into words," Matt explained. "But it truly changed the way I viewed my entire experience at Cook Children's."

As she expected, Karen fell in love with Cook Children's and at the end of the day, she also heard Matt say the words that every wife loves to hear: "You were right."

Since that day, Karen and Matt have begun to volunteer as a family through our Seventh Avenue program and attend as many events as their schedules allow. Matt also serves on Cook Children's Board of Trustees.

The Johnson family also has generously supported areas in the medical center that are particularly meaningful to them.

Karen and several members of her family have a rare, genetic form of diabetes so they have invested in research programs in our Endocrinology department. They also support our Pulmonology program because Matt knows firsthand what it's like to suffer from chronic asthma.

Their hope is that their support will help patients and families learn to manage their diagnoses so that they can live happier, healthier lives.

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Thank you from each family, patient, nurse, physician and staff member whose life you will have touched with your generosity.