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How Emma’s Garden Grows

Emma grows produce for the staff at Shriners Children’s.

One patient shares her homegrown vegetables with our medical team

Emma enjoys anything that allows her to be “hands on.” This includes digging in the dirt, tending to her vegetable garden. She’s known for visiting Shriners Children’s Northern California, sharing her homegrown vegetables with the medical team. 

Emma’s garden will make even the most experienced horticulturist jealous. She has raised vegetable garden beds, clay pots filled with blossoming flowers, bright yellow squash and numerous tomato plants raised from little seedlings. 

“It’s so peaceful,” said Emma. “My favorite vegetables are probably the little red tomatoes. But I also like to grow squash, zucchini, peppers and sugar snap peas.” 

“Emma will come to her appointments with baskets of produce,” said her mom, Patricia. “She takes a lot of pride in her garden – and staff are always so excited to be given produce she grew by herself !” 

Emma is resilient, incredibly bright and actively educates others to break down negative stereotypes about people with disabilities. 

In 2019, Emma and her mother were in a life-altering car accident. She was referred to Shriners Children’s Northern California for specialized rehabilitative and orthopedic care for her spinal cord injury and subsequent osteoporosis diagnosis. 

“The support we receive at this hospital is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced,” said Patricia. “Their focus on children’s emotional, mental and spiritual health, especially when you’re here for an extended period of time, is a priority.” 

Since Emma’s accident, she has experienced many different symptoms, and her medical team is determined to support her and her family throughout her care journey. Over the years, Patricia has had countless meetings with medical staff at Shriners Children’s. 

“I appreciate that whenever I have questions or feel the need to sit down and get clarification, the staff is accommodating,” said Patricia. “They let me ask all of my questions and engaged Emma throughout the process as well. It’s comforting knowing that they are aware of how to communicate one on one with children and adults.”