News

New Child Life Specialist Joins Children’s Blood & Cancer Center

We are happy to welcome Deanna Carrillo as a new child life specialist in the CBCC outpatient clinic. She recently moved to Austin from Memphis, Tennessee, where she worked in the neuro-oncology unit at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Child Life Specialist-Pediatric Oncology

Child Life Specialist

Deanna is excited to live in Austin and to join the CBCC team. She is enthusiastic about getting to know CBCC patients and families and looks forward to making clinic visits as comfortable and playful as possible.

What attracted you to the CBCC cancer program?

The oncology world is the greatest, the staff has so much compassion for our patients and families, and they try to make it as fun as possible in the clinic! (AND it’s in the HEART of Texas!)

Why and how did you decide to work in pediatric hematology/oncology?

Oncology hits close to home in my family, but the ultimate deciding factor was completing my Child Life internship at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in oncology; that’s when I knew the oncology world was meant for me! There’s no greater transition from St. Jude than becoming a part of the oncology team at the Children’s Blood & Cancer Center at Dell Children’s!

It takes a lot of compassion and strength to care for pediatric oncology patients as they become more like family. Where do you get your strength to handle the emotional rollercoaster these families face?

I do experience every emotion with the patients and families, but keeping a sense of humor, making the best of every situation, and being hopeful, optimistic, and fun helps me cope through the tough times.

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?

I love making the kiddos smile, playing with them, and watching their fears and anxieties reduce as they become more comfortable in the hospital setting. They are the most courageous patients and I LOVE planning off treatment parties! 🙂

What impact do you hope to make in your position and with your patients and their families?

I hope to continue to build relationships and reduce their fears and anxieties during hospitalization and clinic visits. I want to promote a playful environment despite their circumstances and give them hope for the future!

What is something patients or your team might be surprised to know about you?

I was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy and this often helps me build rapport with my patients who have difficulties coping with body image issues, facial muscle weakness/drooping, and socialization due to insecurities. It’s one of my favorite things to talk about with patients who can relate!