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Connecting with Kids

Name: Elaine Hardin
Expertise: Child Life Therapist
Location: Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville

“I wanted to be a coach. But, while in the hospital following my injury, I thought about what my new path might look like. That’s when I saw the child life therapists at work and thought, ‘Hey, I could do that!’”

For over four decades, Child Life Therapist Elaine Hardin has entertained and provided essential emotional support to patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville. With her kind voice and playful temperament, Hardin has seemed more like a favorite aunt than a hospital employee to the thousands of children she has cared for since the 1980s.

A former Lander University basketball star, Hardin has a level of determination that is common among many high-achieving athletes, and it’s a spirit she passes along to recovering patients. This winning attitude makes her memorable. However, another aspect of her life makes her unforgettable, particularly to our patients: She uses a wheelchair.

Paralyzed from the waist down due to a car accident when she was in her early 20s, Hardin can relate to patients in a way she never planned.

As someone who drives from her home near North Carolina to the hospital in South Carolina and enjoys an active, full life, Hardin shows patients, without even trying, that physical disabilities don’t define life’s possibilities.