Lisa Musser became a part of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital family in 2005 when her son was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). He was treated at both St. Jude and at the St. Jude Affiliate clinic in their hometown for three years. He relapsed in 2009, requiring him to receive a bone marrow transplant. He unfortunately relapsed again, needing a second bone marrow transplant. In October 2010, shortly after his second transplant, Musser’s son passed away.
When the Patient Family Advisory Council (PFAC) was formed in 2008, Musser saw an opportunity to give back to the hospital that had done so much for her family. She has been involved in Patient Family-Centered Care (PFCC) initiatives since joining the PFAC in 2008 and currently serves as the lead parent adviser on the Quality of Life Steering Council.
“Volunteering as a parent adviser has given me a sense of purpose and has helped me in some ways to process and make sense of my own grief,” Musser said.
Through her leadership on the council, Musser hopes to help support and enhance the partnership of patients and families and their health care teams, particularly in end of life and bereavement situations at St. Jude. She also has a specific interest in helping with staff bereavement.
“If they feel like it might be a good fit for them, I would definitely recommend that other parents become involved in PFCC initiatives,” Musser said. “Giving back something to St. Jude and helping future families is extremely rewarding.”
Musser says she feels fulfilled through advising and mentoring other St. Jude parents because she knows her story and experience matter and can help improve the experiences of future families. She also appreciates being able to help staff process their grief as it gives her a sense of giving back to them.
Musser homeschools her two twins who are high school seniors as she and her husband prepare them for college and prepare themselves for an empty nest. Also, she enjoys horseback riding and raising and training therapy dogs.