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By Julie Kobold
| May 8, 2017
Like most nurses at Boston Children’s Hospital, Heather Bastardi is brilliant, kind, and great with kids. When we first met, I didn’t realize we would share in the ups and downs of raising a child who would eventually need a heart transplant. What sets Heather apart is her serenity. She has a way of being with patients and parents that instills hope and reduces anxiety. Chronically ill children might not always exhibit the best behavior, but Heather genuinely accepts kids where they are, with no judgment. There was a twinkle in her eye as she listened to a giggling 8-year-old, singing 10-year-old, angst-ridden adolescent, and excited college freshman. She remembers funny moments in my child’s life, which makes going to the hospital more like visiting family than going to another medical appointment. She knows the perfect time to make small talk or just to be with you. She was the first person to begin teaching our young child how to self-advocate, which has turned into a lifelong skill. She trained her to understand her medications and what they do, how much to take, and how to pronounce some very long names. She quizzed her at every appointment. At times when we weren’t sure how long our child would live, Heather kept preparing her for a future we were sometimes too scared to wish for. Heather never acts like she is doing anything out of the ordinary. She helps coordinate appointments with other specialists, puts a stroller together, or gives a much-needed hug at just the right moment. She provided scaffolding in a young girl’s life so that one day she would stand on her own.
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