Newsmaker: Kelley Backpacks founder honored as ‘Real Hero’

Heather Busick honored at 2012 American Red Cross Heroes Breakfast

By Ellie Castano

UMass Medical School Communications

April 02, 2012
  Heather Busick (second from right) with Kelley House classmates and fellow backpack volunteers Scott Pascal, Alison Little and Anne Barnard.

Fourth-year medical student Heather Busick was recently honored by the Central Massachusetts chapter of the American Red Cross at its annual breakfast that spotlights members of the local community who exemplify to the values of the organization. Busick was honored for creating and running the Kelley Backpacks program, which provides age- and gender-appropriate backpacks to children transitioning to foster care from UMass Memorial Medical Center.

Busick was inspired to launch the program after a clinical rotation in which she encountered a child hospitalized without a parent present. She began thinking about how alone such children must feel and hit upon the idea of giving such children something small of their own to hold onto. After enlisting fellow classmates from Kelley House and coordinating with clinicians and staff at UMass Memorial, Busick launched the program in the summer of 2011.

Watch the Red Cross video to learn more about the program and the honor.

Busick notes that donations to Kelley Backpacks are always welcome. Current needs include backpacks and art supplies. Donation boxes are located outside the Family Medicine clinic on the first floor of the Benedict Building and outside of the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education on the first floor of the Medical School building.

Related links on UMassMedNow
Giving vulnerable kids something to hold onto
T&G: Backpacks help foster children make transition
MLK Semester of Service Awards support local health projects