Berger and Green is delighted to award its 2018 Heart Disease Scholarship to Emma Plute, a first-year student at Utah State University. Emma was born with a congenital heart condition that has affected, but not defined her life.
Here’s a look at our interview with Emma.
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The Salt Lake City native was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a condition so serious that at her diagnosis in 1999, doctors told her parents she would be lucky to live to be 30 years old. Her young parents were understandably aghast with this prediction their first-born child. Fortunately, medicine has advanced greatly in the last few decades and Emma, and others like her, can look forward a full, rich life. Over the years, she has had four surgeries. Strangely, she said, her stays in the hospital should have been quite awful, but she remembers them as being positive, almost joyful.
“I felt the nurses and doctors trusted me to be the best I could be, to prove that I am strong,’’ she wrote. Read her award-winning essay here.
Her time in the hospital was so inspiring, that she decided to volunteer at her own hospital, Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. After 80 or so hours of volunteering throughout high school, she qualified to be a “cuddler” in the Neonatal, Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as a cuddler for premature babies.
Children from all over the West are sent to Primary Children’s Hospital’s NICU for its high-level of care, she explained. As hard as it is for parents, many of them must return home to work and pay for the treatment and the children are left to the care of nurses. Volunteer cuddlers fill in that important human touch and TLC that all babies need.
Emma has changed her mind about careers, too. Once an aspiring teacher, she has decided to study nursing, specifically pediatric nursing so that she can return to a children’s hospital as a healer, not a patient.
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The Berger and Green Heart Disease Scholarship is awarded every year for a hard-working student who has heart disease. Berger and Green is a personal injury firm, based in Pittsburgh, Pa. In addition to its professional services, the firm is deeply connected to its community, participating in many charitable organizations. Co-founder Laurence Green is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a group of U.S. attorneys, who have successfully obtained awards of one million dollars or more for their clients.