Bakersfield Memorial Hospital is home to the Lauren Small Children’s Center. This comprehensive pediatric center is named in honor of Lauren Paige Small, a local girl who inspired the community through her brave two-year battle with cancer.
Lauren was born on August 1, 1994 in Bakersfield. She lived with her parents, Kevin and Tuesdy, her brother, Kyle, and a number of pets that she loved dearly.
Lauren was an outstanding student at Olive Drive Elementary School. She loved music, traveling, shopping, tennis, swimming, wake boarding, snow skiing, and especially mashed potatoes. Lauren’s dream was to one day become a veterinarian.
In April 2003, Lauren broke her leg. Six weeks later she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma - an aggressive form of bone cancer in the leg. She underwent five months of extensive chemotherapy. That November, surgeons removed two-thirds of her tibia. After recovering from surgery and being fitted with a prosthesis, Lauren underwent an additional five months of chemotherapy.
Through it all, she never complained. Not about losing her beautiful long blonde hair. Not about being constantly sick from chemotherapy. Not about enduring the painful surgery and recovery - including the grueling physical therapy that was necessary to help her regain strength and learn to walk with the prosthesis.
Lauren was an accomplished Western and English rider, and continued to ride horses even after her diagnosis and amputation - much to the amazement of her doctors, friends and family. At the 2005 Bakersfield Open Horse Show, she won awards for Rookie of the Year, Champion Walk/Jog (12 and under division) and even placed in the overall top 10. Considering all she had been through, her achievements at the Show were simply astonishing. Along with her love of horses, Lauren had affection for daisies. Both of these interests served as the inspiration for the Center’s new logo.
In January of 2005, Lauren’s cancer returned. This time, it had spread to her lungs. Though she fought bravely until the end, Lauren passed away on December 1, 2005.
A few months before Lauren passed, her grandmother Joan L. Hardy founded the Small Miracles Foundation as a way to help families cope with the financial, emotional, and physical strain of having a child with cancer. Since its inception, the Foundation has given many local families the “small miracles” that make a big difference as their child fights cancer - like providing transportation to treatments, meals, and financial assistance.
As we dedicate The Lauren Small Children’s Center today, we not only honor Lauren’s memory, we celebrate the hope and courage she demonstrated throughout her cancer journey. May her spirit live on within these halls, and serve as an inspiration to our patients, families, and staff.
Learn More About Pediatric Services At Bakersfield Memorial
To find a Dignity Health pediatrician or family care doctor, please call (661) 324-7070 or use our Find a Doctor search tool.