Hospitalization and a stint in the I.C.U. might leave some feeling defeated, and at a loss of how to proceed, but for junior Emilio Rios, a stay at a local hospital inspired him to focus on the little joys in life. A cup half full kind of guy, Rios took his experience and transformed it into a once in a lifetime experience.
Rios was hospitalized after his lung collapsed over winter break. After undergoing a successful surgery, he was sent back to his room on the tenth floor to recover which proved to be a less than entertaining experience. To escape boredom and lighten the mood, he began to play his guitar and ukulele. It became a central part of his recovery, and the stay of other children in the hospital. After being released, Rios decided to return to the hospital, to play for the other children.
Emilio has recently visited University Medical Center to play to the patients of the Children's Hospital on January 29, 2017. As soon as he stepped on the 10th floor a whirlwind of memories hit him. He began to recall walking through the halls and playing the guitar with a doctor who shared the same musical interest. Overlooking the city through the family rooms of the recovery floor, and being bored out of his mind in the room that was at the corner of the I.C.U.
Dr. Bert Johansson, who specializes in Pediatrics Emergency Medicine, was in the General Pediatrics wing of the hospital and immediately remembered Rios. He invited many nurses and medical students to hear Rios's music. The first request being Over the Rainbow.
Rios said making the children feel content while in the hospital is a good feeling.
"Putting a smile on a kid's face is something everyone likes to do," Rios said.
Rios is enrolled in the guitar class offered at the school. Guitar teacher Danny Contreras said that Rios is a delight in the class.
"Emilio's work ethic matches his natural talent," Contreras said. "I have never seen him under any kind of circumstances when he is not prepared or not ready to take on a challenge."
Contreras also said that Rios's work at the hospital very admirable, and that he's amazed at what Rios has been able to accomplish.
"I think it is rare to find a mature young person that is very fearless in the way he wants to share his gifts," Contreras said. "It's inspiring for me, so I'm sure for the people he was there for it's even a bigger deal."
Rios continues to visit the hospital, hoping to bring light and joy into the lives of the nurses, doctors and kids he serenades.