ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — This week’s Everyday Hero gets to work with a hero of her own.
And together, they're caring for some of the Bay area's most vulnerable children.
What You Need To Know
- Leah Frohnerath is a Certified Child Life Specialist
- Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital's Child Life Team
- Want to nominate an Everyday Hero? Click here
Leah Frohnerath and Brea are familiar faces at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. Frohnerath is a certified child life specialist working closely with young patients.
“To help kids to understand what the doctors are going to do, why they’re doing it and how it’s going to feel.” Frohnerath said, describing part of what she does.
She is also a facility dog handler and works with her Labrador, a beauty named Brea.
“She was trained by canine companions for independence. She has the same training and expertise that a service animal has,” Frohnerath said.
The two work to bring comfort to kids dealing with cancer or heart issues.
They do it in many ways including when a child needs to get an IV or an MRI or a cat scan.
The dog helps take away or at least reduce the fear.
“Just having a dog in a hospital sometimes changes the whole vantage point of what they’re thinking about,” Frohnerath said.
Brea lives with Frohnerath and her family and will for the rest of her life. Frohnerath has had her own medical challenges.
As a young child, Frohnerath was diagnosed with cerebral palsy with the diagnosis later changed to hereditary spastic paraplegia.
Part of her therapy included equine therapy and those years taught her the power and importance of the bond with animals.
And as a professional, the chance to help other children with Brea by her side was the perfect match.
“It was the culmination of all the things that i felt was the best medicine for kids,” she said.