Donor's Gift Brightens Stays Of Pediatrics Patients

Lisabeth Hawks remembers being in the pediatrics unit at Genesis predecessor St. Luke's Hospital in 1972 and being told she had juvenile diabetes.

She doesn't remember the experience negatively. If anything, she believes her care and the support from staff and her own large family helped her adjust to living with diabetes.

A generous donation from Lisabeth Hawks funded
the purchase of colorful ceiling tiles that have been installed on the Pediatrics Unit. Hawks was a patient at the former St. Luke's Hospital when she was diagnosed with diabetes 40 years ago.

"It was 40 years ago when I was 7, but I still remember my primary nurse and the staff at the hospital. They were wonderful to me. I think the care and support I received from my family and staff when I was first diagnosed got me off to a good start and a positive outlook in living with diabetes,'' Hawks remembered during a  visit to Genesis Medical Center, East Rusholme St., where pediatrics is still on the third floor. "The support I received when I was diagnosed 40 years ago is still carrying me today.''

During her initial stay of more than a week, she was asked what flower she would most like to have from a local florist.

"I said a tulip because I didn't know much about flowers, but I liked tulips,'' she recalls. “My mom asked if I couldn't pick any other flower than a tulip. It was November so there weren't many tulips. However, the next day I got a single tulip with a long stem.” 

Tulips are now "in season" every day of the year in the pediatrics unit because of a donation from Lisabeth Hawks. To celebrate her 40th year with diabetes, Hawks solicited family and friends to raise funds to purchase the ceiling scenes. On the ceiling are decorative panels displaying a tulip garden.

The tulip panel is just one of many attractive scenes on the ceiling throughout the unit. The patient rooms and the corridors in pediatrics and adult surgical have scenes of butterflies, fish and sharks, mountains and sunflowers.

"We had the nurses in pediatrics pick the scenes and they did a great job. They picked scenes and colors that pop,'' Hawks said. "They picked the same panels I would have chosen. They are very cool.''

Patients and families are already noticing the scenes, according to pediatrics nurse manager Cindy Skipton.

"I've seen parents walk in a room, look up and say, 'look at these.' It gives patients and families something different to look at than the walls of a patient room,'' Skipton said.

Hawks wanted to do something special for pediatrics to celebrate her 40-year journey with diabetes. She had thoughts about an aquarium or maybe a toy train that would run above the rooms. After working with the Genesis Foundation and the staff on the floor, they arrived at the decorative tiles.

Hawks, a middle school teacher in Geneva, IL, has demonstrated how gifts to the Genesis Foundation have an impact on the lives and the hospital experiences of others. To find out how you can also have an impact, call the foundation office at 563-421-6865 or go to

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