Desire to help others burns deep

The Children's Hospital at Westmead has celebrated 80 years of social service and the vital role it plays within the hospital.

Social workers from each decade since the 60s came together to celebrate the profession and the many bonds formed over the years between social worker and patient.

One worth mentioning is the relationship between burns unit social worker Sandra Spalding and patient Paul Amoroso, 30, who have known each other for 18 years.

Mrs Spalding became a social worker because she wanted to make a difference in people's lives.

"Burn victims are affected by the change in their body image and the recovery process can be confronting and painful," she said.

She was assigned to Mr Amoroso's case in 1995 when he was brought in as a 12-year-old boy with burns to 63 per cent of his body.

He was an in-patient for six months and treatment with Mrs Spalding continued for several more years.

"She offered me great support and I knew I could call her any time," Mr Amoroso said.

He was inspired by his life experience and by Mrs Spalding, now his mentor, to pursue a career as a social worker.

"I saw Sandra as a role model for what a social worker should be and I wanted to be like her," he said.

Mrs Spalding, 64, said she "feels blessed" to have been a part of his life and to have attended his wedding last year.

"I felt great joy being there and it's wonderful seeing when our patients turn their lives around," she said.

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