Back-to-School Student Spotlight: Mckenna Laing

Left Image: Mckenna and with her father, Jay Laing before her first surgery, BC Children’s Hospital, 2013. Center Image: Mckenna Laing, First Day of Work, BC Children’s Hospital, May 8, 2023. Right Image: (Left to Right): Dr. Dzung Vo, and Mckenna Laing practicing Mindfulness. Source: Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre Blog, 2019.

As summer draws to a close, and preparations begin for Back-to-School, we celebrate Mckenna Laing, a former long-term patient at BC Children’s Hospital, who is wrapping up her first Co-Op placement with the Department of Pediatrics, UBC & BCCH (DoP).

Mckenna is entering her third year at the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business. Since May, she has worked as a Student Assistant in Communications & Engagement for DoP. In her own words, the experience was very powerful, “Reflecting back, the physicians and staff that helped me when I was a child being treated at the hospital have positively transformed my life. The experience has inspired me to want to give back and impact the lives of other young patients in a similar way.”

Mckenna’s journey at BC Children’s started over ten years ago, after being diagnosed with Perthes Disease and Chronic Neuropathic pain stemming from stress and trauma. She underwent various treatments at the Complex Pain Clinic, finding success with the MARS-A Mindfulness Program. Empowered by the program, she joined the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC), where she has been active for five years. As part of her desire to make a difference, Mckenna spearheaded the “YACtivity” Book Project, which is an activity book for young patients that included mental health resources and mindfulness techniques.

As Mckenna nears the end of her first Co-Op, her time spent with the staff, physicians and patients at BC Children’s has fueled her interest to keep working in the healthcare industry where she can impact the lives of others and share her story with young patients for optimal motivation, strength, and care. “It is such an honor to be able to work for an organization that I had been so connected to in my childhood,” says Mckenna. “Recognizing that I have a role in this community to help improve healthcare for youth makes me extremely proud. I’m very grateful to be a part of this amazing community and continue to follow this path.”

We wish you well and all the success in your next chapter!

Learn more about the MARS-A Mindfulness Program and the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC):