Family Advisory Council Member Testimonials

Jackie with her family. Jackie with her grandkids. “I was blessed to be involved in the launch of the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Family Advisory Council (FAC) in 1998. Our daughter Allyson had been born prematurely and she spent her first days of life in the NICU. A few months later, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and our family (my husband Nelson and son, Eric) were told she would not be able to walk, there was uncertainty about how long she would life and she might not even smile. Our family became committed to her development as well as to partnering with other families, hospital staff, the community, and the organization to support Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

While those first few years were challenging with several visits every week for therapy, medical visits and surgery, she has thrived through it all and as you can see she does smile – a lot! Consequently, our family is deeply grateful for the excellent care she/we have received.

The work of the Family Advisory Council is to serve and support families, as well as to be a voice and advocate for those who come to the organization for care. Council members give back with their heart to assure that family needs are heard, and they provide encouragement and feedback to the organization as it cares for each and every child and their family.

Today, I am a member of the Council as a grandmother of two beautiful grandchildren, ages 3 and 1. We celebrate them along with their Aunt Allyson in supporting the excellent care that Nicklaus Children’s continues to provide. I am honored to continue to give my best in this capacity. I look forward to working with other committed families to continue to support the fundamental and essential work of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and Health System, through the FAC.”

– Jackie Gonzalez

Andrea hugging her daughter.“We spend a lot of time at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, both inpatient and outpatient, to work with numerous specialists. I chose to get involved with the Family Advisory Council for three main reasons. First and foremost, I want this hospital to be the best that it can be, so I'm excited to offer my insight. Second, I enjoy being able to participate in the development of new  programs – it's empowering to be able to listen to staff from various departments make presentations and they greatly value our feedback. Last but not least, my family and I enjoy the camaraderie of the other families at the monthly meetings and special events. I encourage other families to join the FAC for these reasons, and many more!”

– Andrea Abramowitz

Carolina Montoya with her daughter. "My journey with Nicklaus Children's Hospital began in the most personal way possible — my daughter was diagnosed with an ultra-rare and mortal disease, making her the only known case in Miami. As a parent, this was a daunting revelation, but it was also the catalyst that drove me to become more involved in the healthcare community. Nicklaus Children's, being the sole freestanding children's hospital in Miami, became our second home, with my daughter seeing a myriad of specialists there.

Joining the Family Advisory Council was a conscious decision driven by my desire to give back to the institution that has been pivotal in my daughter's care. My primary goal has always been clear: to aid Nicklaus Children's in its journey to become the premier children's hospital, ensuring that families like mine don't feel the need to seek care elsewhere. I believe that with the right guidance, dedication, and feedback, we can make Nicklaus Children's a beacon of hope and excellence for all families in Miami and beyond.

The Family Advisory Council, in my eyes, plays a monumental role in the broader healthcare landscape. It serves as the voice for those little souls who spend countless hours within the hospital walls, many of whom cannot articulate their needs, fears, or desires. We are their advocates, ensuring that their experiences are not just heard but acted upon. Our role is to bridge the gap between medical professionals and the families they serve, ensuring that every child's journey is as comfortable, compassionate, and effective as possible.

Your involvement with the Family Advisory Council will be more than just a membership; it's a commitment to bettering the lives of countless children. It's about ensuring that every child, irrespective of their medical challenges, receives the best care right here in Miami."

- Carolina Montoya

black and white photo of michelle and her son."I serve on the Family Advisory Council because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of other families at Nicklaus Children's Hospital and make their experience a smooth one. My son was inpatient and as a mom I was frazzled. Anything I can do to alleviate even a little bit of that feeling for other parents, I want to do."

-Michelle Appelrouth-Rader, MHC

Menocal family of four."We actively engage with the Family Advisory Council to contribute a distinct parental perspective on essential services for our children and collaborating on goal priorities."

-Jorge and Leyma Menocal