Patients at the Children’s Cancer and Blood Center at Methodist Children’s Hospital, a campus of Methodist Hospital, are beating cancer with paint brushes, thanks to Tracy’s Kids, The Container Store and Meg Castellanos and her family.
Meg, 10, was successfully treated for bone cancer at the center. While receiving her treatment, she spent a lot of time in the playroom with her siblings. She also loved painting and participated in Tracy’s Kids, a program which offers pediatric art therapy for children with cancer, also in the playroom.
Art therapy allows kids to be kids and gives them something to look forward to when they come in for treatment. It encourages them to interact with other pediatric patients and also builds community between kids and their parents.
“Some kids with cancer have a difficult time adjusting to the changes in their lives ranging from being out of school and away from friends to the effects of chemotherapy,” said Kathleen Sutter, MA, ATR-BC, NCC, art therapist with Tracy’s Kids at Methodist Children’s Hospital. “Art brings kids out of their shell. It helps patients and their families cope with the emotional stress of cancer and its treatment. It helps these young patients express their feelings and reflect on their treatment experiences.”
Ruben and Brandi Castellanos, Meg’s parents, recognized the importance of art therapy in Meg’s treatment. They also noticed the need for more space since the playroom has to accommodate kids with IV poles and computers for nurses.
“The amazing doctors, nurses and staff took such great care of my baby girl and we will be forever grateful,” said Ruben. “My wife and I wanted to help organize the art room.” A long-time employee of The Container Store, he obtained a special donation of Elfa designer shelving and organizational products. Employees from The Container Store in San Antonio handled the installation.
The new modular shelving and drawer system is attached to the wall. It holds toys, games and art supplies that previously took up floor space. Now, patients at the Children’s Cancer and Blood Center can use art therapy to paint a picture of a life free from cancer.