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Shriners Children’s Boston Helps Former Patient Realize Her Passion

Lauren, a former Shriners Children’s Boston patient, realized her passion for the beauty industry after receiving care for scald injuries.

Now she is helping others feel confident in their own skin. Lauren sustained first-, second-, and third-degree burns on her chest at 22 months old when her parents were hosting an open house at their home. “It was December, and New England winters are pretty cold, so I was bundled up in a few layers for the event.” As guests came and went, Lauren’s parents offered hot chocolate and treats. “I saw a Santa mug on the table. I was able to grab it and pull the steaming hot chocolate down on myself,” said Lauren. “The layers I was wearing trapped the heat, causing the different degrees of burns.” Lauren arrived at Shriners Children’s Boston a few months later, after a neighbor of her grandparents, a Shriner, recommended Shriners Children’s for care.

Lauren’s initial treatment was extensive. “I was going four times a year; two surgeries and two checkups a year,” Lauren said. “I continued this throughout my adolescence.”

Lauren had a positive experience at Shriners Children’s Boston thanks to faculty and staff at the hospital, especially her surgeon, Daniel Driscoll, M.D. Dr. Driscoll is a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in reconstruction for children with burn injuries and congenital differences. “The key is to find what is needed and make a surgical and reconstructive plan,” said Dr. Driscoll. “We worked to rehabilitate Lauren’s scars with laser therapy, steroids and even small surgery.”

Lauren credits Dr. Driscoll for helping manage the appearance of her scars, and feels honored to have been his patient. “His work has changed my life. I never thought my scars would be as subtle as they are now,” she said. “I can say at almost 23, looking at childhood photos to now is absolutely mind blowing. I feel so lucky to have been under his care.”

patient with glasses recovering from laser treatment

Lauren receives laser treatment for her scars at Shriners Children's Boston.

Dr. Driscoll explained that the treatment at Shriners Children’s Boston is a multidisciplinary approach, with treatment from various departments throughout the hospital. “This allows us to care for children and their families as they grow and address the issues that arise at different milestones in their lives.”

Lori Viveiros, RN, also played a significant role in Lauren’s experience at Shriners Children’s. “Nurse Lori was with me from the start. Every surgery, she would be right there holding my hand,” Lauren said. “Even if she wasn’t working or able to be in the room with me at one of my visits, she would make sure to go out of her way and ask how I did.” Lauren said she would look forward to going to Shriners Children’s because she couldn’t wait to see one of her favorite nurses, and hear about her pet horses and travels.

Lori Turgeon, PT, D.P.T., is the director of therapeutic services at Shriners Children’s Boston. She often works with burn patients throughout their treatment. “Since scar tissue does not always function the same as healthy skin, many patients may develop joint or scar contractures as they grow, which causes this tissue to limit their function or cause changes in the child’s appearance,” Lori said.

Therapists work closely with patients on goals appropriate to their age, interests and participation in their community. Dr. Driscoll explained that for large scars, the child’s growth is important. “They can become tighter and require tension-relieving surgical treatments such as plastic surgery and skin grafting. Sometimes it is just as simple as teaching makeup so they are less self-conscious wearing that favorite dress to the prom."

Nurse Lori was with me from the start. Every surgery she would be right there holding my hand. Even if she wasn’t working or able to be in the room with me at one of my visits, she would make sure to go out of her way and ask how I did.
Lauren, former Shriners Children's Boston patient

One of Lauren’s fondest memories is of the makeup clinic. She attended cosmetology school after receiving her degree in business, and is now a full-time hairstylist. Shriners Children’s Boston inspired her interest in the industry. “I remember I was entering middle school and had a dance coming up. I wanted makeup to cover my scars a little bit,” Lauren explained. “I never felt ashamed of my scar, but I felt empowered learning how I could use cosmetics in the circumstances I wanted to.”

Turgeon also helps lead the makeup clinic at Shriners Children’s Boston. Cosmetics are one of the many tools the hospital uses to help patients reintegrate into the public after an injury. “Seeing themselves for the first time with the makeup in place, after having spent time with Robin our makeup artist, learning how to blend their skin tone and enhance their natural beauty, you just see a light emit from our patients that makes you smile,” said Lori.

Makeup artist Robin Liebowitz got involved with the program at Shriners Children’s Boston after learning about it through a friend. Robin loves being a part of the clinic because she sees the impact that makeup can have on patients. Robin hopes they can take away a sense of positivity from the skills that she offers. “Makeup is not to camouflage their features, but to make them feel more comfortable with themselves and going out into the world,” Robin explained. “When we look good we feel good, and it’s such a self-esteem boost!”

Lauren embraces that same outlook through her work in cosmetology. “I absolutely love my job and making people feel beautiful all day! It’s all about embracing our differences and knowing that’s what makes you, YOU!” When Lauren is not at work helping others feel confident in their skin, she loves spending time with her dogs and reading.

Following Lauren’s experience at Shriners Children’s Boston, she hopes families and children know that it does get better. “The beginning can be scary because you don’t know what to expect, but I can assure you, Shriners Children’s Boston is the best thing that could have happened to me. The community is so strong,” said Lauren.

woman standing and smiling

Lauren enjoys the fall weather outside in New England.

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