Stanford Medicine Newsletter Updates For the Local Community

First Person

Part of a culture of caring


Pat Rice and Claire Fitzgerald are a husband and-wife duo who volunteer at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital to “continue doing the work of the heart.” Fitzgerald is a marriage and family therapist, and Rice is a therapist and psychological consultant for business professionals. Inspired by the courage of Packard Children’s patients and families, the couple became dedicated to making a difference in others’ lives


Many years ago, our 3-month-old son Brian was admitted to the former children’s hospital at Stanford because there was a chance he had a brain tumor. Despite the difficult circumstances, we received the best care anybody could want. It turned out that Brian did not have a tumor. He is now a healthy and proud father of three girls.

When Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital opened in 1991, it was the perfect opportunity for us to come back and say “thank you” by being volunteers. To help the families at Packard Children’s adds an incredible amount of meaning and purpose to our lives.

As proud members of the hospital’s Baby Cuddler program, we help nurture the babies in the intensive care units simply by providing our love. As preemies, many of these infants stay in the hospital for extended periods, and their parents can’t always be there. To comfort these fragile newborns and aid in their development, we hold them and often sing to them.

Cuddling these babies gives back to us in so many ways. It nurtures our spirit and returns to us the gift of gratitude. Just the other day, a woman stopped us at Trader Joe’s to introduce us to her 11-year-old daughter because we had cuddled her many years ago.

Volunteering at Packard Children’s has been a wonderful experience, and it has allowed us to leave a legacy of service for the next generations in our family. It has also kept us connected with our community, and we hope our presence speaks to the great admiration and respect we have for the wonderful staff, nurses and doctors who work at Packard Children’s every day. They truly create a “culture of caring.”

Become a volunteer

Volunteers play a critical role in the hospitals’ mission to deliver high-quality patient care and make a tremendous difference in the lives of patients, families, caregivers and staff.

To volunteer at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, please call 650-497-8696 or visit

For information about volunteer opportunities at Stanford Hospital & Clinics, please call 650-723-7424 or visit

To take part in the Hospital Auxiliary program, which includes volunteer opportunities for both teens and adults, please call the auxiliary office at 650-723-6636.

Footer Links: