Name: Courtney Emery

Job title: School Intervention Specialist

I have been blessed with the opportunity to work in the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Hem/Onc clinic for 4 years as the School Intervention Specialist. Working in the DanceBlue Clinic and witnessing the work of the students has taught me the true meaning of selflessness and that this life is about serving others and a greater cause. The DanceBlue Organization is absolutely incredible and the impact of DanceBlue is endless. Personally, I am impacted by DanceBlue because the organization provides funding for my position. I serve as a liaison between the families, schools, and the medical team to ensure academic success for all patients. I work with patients from diagnosis through our Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic and from pre-school through college. My favorite part of my job is witnessing patients achieve goals whether that is successfully completing a project, transitioning back to school, finishing a school year on track, or graduating high school and even college.

The resilience of our patients is admirable! Our patients do not let cancer define them rather they define cancer by continuing to achieve their goals while going through treatment and facing a life threatening illness head on.

Our patients are the definition of strength and courage and many days that strength and courage are intensified by the support and love the patients receive from DanceBlue students. Like I said before, the impact of DanceBlue is endless. The presence of the students in clinic transforms the atmosphere. Even on the most difficult days, patients and families smile and celebrate when a student walks through the door. Playing a game or having a nerf gun war with a DanceBlue student allows a child to just be a kid. It may seem simple to you but to the kid, the family, and our team, it is extraordinary.

Something you may not be aware of is the Patient Support Fund, which is provided by DanceBlue. This fund provides food, parking, and gas cards to families. These things may seem simple but without them, families may not be able to afford a trip to the clinic or the hospital. I have had the opportunity to witness the relief on a mother’s face when she received the support and I have seen a father breathe a sigh of relief when he received it. It is simple but its life changing.

The DanceBlue organization has radically changed the quality of care patients receive in our clinic. Our patients receive treatment from an interdisciplinary team, which includes physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, child life specialists, dieticians, and school intervention specialists. Many of these positions do not typically exist in a clinic of our size but DanceBlue recognized the need and met it. Because of this, we are able to not only treat the physical needs of a patient but also the social and emotional needs of the patients and their families.

I became an educator because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children and young adults. When I started this journey, I had no idea that I would have the opportunity to join hundreds, even thousands of young adults to positively impact the lives of children in Kentucky. I am humbled to be even a small part of the DanceBlue community. DanceBlue is amazing, the clinic is amazing, and the patients we serve are amazing! Thank you DanceBlue students… YOU are difference makers!!