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When Ana went in for a pregnancy ultrasound she found out two things: 1) she was having a little girl and 2) that little girl had a cyst on her right lung. Ana was considered a high-risk pregnancy, although she went full term with baby Kiera who then became a Riley baby at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Within 10 days, the exceptional surgeons at Riley removed 1/3 of Kiera’s right lung and Ana became a Riley parent–parents of babies at Riley Hospital.

Ana Pinto Alexander, Principal and Group Director for Healthcare Interiors at HKS Architects shared this endearing and heartwarming story with me on the first episode of Healthcare Interior Design 2.0.

Here’s a quick peek into the episode:

“It’s the parents who suffer because they feel helpless. You pray a lot. This lady serving my coffee looked at me and said, “It looks like you need a hug.” The coffee lady. She came and gave me a hug. Little moments like that. She didn’t know me. I just felt better. The experience shaped me to become an advocate for the parent.”

Kiera was back at Riley Hospital a few years later after she developed Pectus Excavatum—a condition in which a person’s breastbone is sunken into his or her chest. Ana goes on to share that this surgery is one of the most painful procedures at the hospital.

During this time, Ana was also busy working on the redesign of Riley Hospital. Yup, you heard me right. She was a parent of a patient and on the healthcare design team at the same hospital, at the same time. Crazy, right?

Tune in to the rest of this fascinating story at the link below. I promise, it has a happy ending and you might even feel a sense of confirmation within your heart that your own work in this industry really does make a difference in the lives of so many.

Here’s the link to listen:

Your podcast host(ess) in gratitude,