HOT Healthy Living

HOT Healthy Living

Today’s guest blog comes from Stephanie Pelligra, the program coordinator of our Comprehensive Hemoglobin Disorders Program. Stephanie also oversees a program called the “HOT (Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation) Healthy Living Initiative”, which teaches families of children with cancer and blood disorders about healthy lifestyle choices.

By Stephanie Pelligra

Hello, everyone!

The HOT Healthy Living Initiative was started in 2010 to provide health and wellness support for our patients with blood disorders and cancer. As a part of this initiative, we host demonstrations in our clinic waiting room on healthy eating and physical activity, write “Wellness Prescriptions” for our patients, and conduct research on healthy living in patients with blood disorders and cancers.

This is what a demonstration with our Food Services department looked like in the Children’s Memorial Hospital Hematology/Oncology waiting room…

Our space at Children’s Memorial was great, but it was definitely cramped! We had to move tables, chairs, and even sofas to make room for our events. One of my favorite parts of our clinic at Lurie Children’s is the space available for HOT Healthy Living Events. We have a sink and plenty of room in the clinic waiting room to do cooking demonstrations with some of our community partners like Whole Foods or Common Threads or Hip Hop Yoga classes with Mindful Practices Yoga. 

On August 11, we had our first HOT Healthy Living event in the new hospital. We held a Health Fair in the 11th floor Conference Center. We had over 200 patients and family members, 32 community partners, and over 60 Lurie Children’s employees and volunteers attend the event. We had exercise classes with the Joffrey Ballet, Mindful Practices Yoga, Latin Fitness, and Stretch and Grow.

We had a lot of room to try out some new yoga poses with Mindful Practices Yoga…

And we got to try new healthy foods like chocolate pudding made with avocados by Whole Foods. It might sound weird, but it was really delicious!

We are really excited about how many community partners we were able to bring into Lurie Children’s. We had almost 30 booths for our families to visit and learn about healthy living.

We are looking forward to continuing our HOT Healthy Living Programming at Lurie Children’s. In the new hospital we hope to do monthly in-clinic demonstrations, continue writing “Wellness Prescriptions”, and continue to conduct research. While our Health Fair and in-clinic demonstrations are fun and exciting to patients, we hope to educate and make an impact on kids and their families. We are actually looking at all of our events, and conducting research on how effective certain programmatic efforts were. We are also conducting research on patient attitudes towards healthy living.

Interested in learning more about the HOT Healthy Living Initiative? Check out the flyer or email me at

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