In 2019, Charlie and his mother, Lucy, both had their lives changed for the better because of the Cherese Mari Laulhere Children’s Village. Charlie was born at 28-weeks-old, weighing just over two pounds. Due to his premature birth, Charlie was born with chronic lung disease. At 11-months-old, Charlie was admitted to Miller Children’s & Women’s for rhinovirus. Lucy stayed with Charlie throughout his hospitalization. As he progressed towards wellness, Charlie became a patient in the Children’s Village, a new 4-story outpatient specialty center located adjacent to MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. The Village houses various specialty clinics, including gastroenterology (GI). Charlie is currently under the care of Roy Nattiv, M.D., pediatric gastroenterologist specialist at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital.

Lucy started bringing Charlie to the Children’s Village around the time it first opened, and has been consistently impressed with how well Dr. Nattiv handles his patients, getting himself to eye-level with the children and speaking in terms they can understand. The GI and Hepatology clinic includes treatment for inflammatory bowel disease. Since Charlie was born premature, he was more likely to develop different GI issues, which Dr. Nattiv helps manage and treat. Lucy regularly takes Charlie to see Dr. Nattiv in order to keep track of and manage his gastrointestinal issues, and Charlie looks forward to seeing his doctor, unlike many kids his age.

“Whenever I take Charlie to his regular pediatrician, he screams,” says Lucy. “I think because he was a preemie, he associates going to the doctor with shots and needles and general anxiety, but whenever I take him to the Children’s Village, he’s super relaxed. It shows that Dr. Nattiv really gets kids and how to treat to them.”

During Charlie’s first stay at Miller Children’s & Women’s in 2019, Lucy had noticed a pop-up on her phone about a hiring for an assistant position. She applied to the job and got an interview while her child was in the hospital. Lucy’s husband took care of Charlie, so Lucy could make the trek across hospitals for her interview at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center. A couple of days later, Lucy got a call from a hospital, and was worried it was about Charlie. Lucy picked up the phone to learn that she had received the job offer. Lucy is now the executive assistant to MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center’s Chief Executive Officer John Bishop and Chief Operating Officer Ikenna Mmeje.

“The Children’s Village is all I could have asked for my son,” says Lucy. “They work so quickly to take such good care of Charlie and all the other patients. I’m so grateful for everything they do for him and all the other children that visit the Village.”