June 23, 2011

Celebrating and Remembering the Legacy of Polly Arango - The Power of a Voice

It is almost impoPolly Arangossible to believe that Polly Arango, one of the founding members of Family Voices and a fearless advocate and champion for family-centered care for children with special health care needs passed away one year ago on June 26th

We choose to commemorate this time by stopping to reflect upon her accomplishments and remembering the countless lives of children she touched with her courage and fortitude. 

Polly learned early on that it would be she, as a parent, who would need to provide education and context to professionals in the health care field to help them to better understand that, as she so succinctly put it, "family-centered care is connecting the science of medicine with the evidence of daily life. "  Using her unique experience as a mother and caregiver, Polly set an outstanding example for how to keep her family at the heart and center of her life, while at the same time, ensuring that standards and practices for quality health care remained were realized for all the children and families whom Family Voices serves. 

Polly showed us as parents how we can show both our fierce and vulnerable sides and that we can and must ask for and demand appropriate services. She showed us that even though we may be frustrated, we can learn to use that energy as a positive means for assuring that our own children, and others receive family-centered care. 

Polly graciously shared her expertise with so many and often her voice was heard all the way to Washington D.C. and the White House although she took such honors in stride.  Her beautiful smile lit up the room. She provided tenderness, warmth and encouragement to the many families who bravely shared their stories with her and became a catalyst for her mission.  She knew to the depths of her very being that there was nothing more compelling than telling the stories of the families that were living through the experience of raising children with special health care needs. These collective stories remain even more important today to maintain and raise our one, powerful united voice.

In the words of George Eliot, "The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men."  Polly Arango answered the call to do enormous and amazing work.  There is no better way to honor her life today than to continue in her giant footsteps, acknowledging the trail she blazed for us as well as recognizing the path we must now pave so that others may follow and even perhaps, one day lead as she did. 

Thank you, Polly, for all that you were and for all that you are.  You remain a lively and spirited inspiration for our ongoing work. 

Follow the Polly Arango Memorial Page on Facebook to leave a message or learn more about Polly.