HOUSTONFor 24 years, young cancer patients at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center have celebrated the holiday season through their original creations of greeting cards and other gift items . Proceeds from 1996 sales totaled $891,000, which funds programs that benefit M.D. Anderson patients.
The goal of the Childrens Art Project is, and always has been, to make life a little easier for cancer patients and their families, said Tyrrell Flawn, M.D. Andersons director of volunteer services. Sales of note cards and gift items not only put a sparkle in our young artists eyes, they also put a sparkle in thousands of cancer patients eyes every day, all year long.
The proceeds from sales of cards and other gifts fund a wide variety of patient-focused programs, including 52 college scholarships for current and former patients, the Beauty/Barber Shop, which provides wigs and scarves to patients who lose their hair during treatment, summer camps for pediatric patients and their siblings, an annual ski trip for young amputees, an in-hospital classroom, music and art classes, writing workshops, and pediatric parties at the hospital.
Proceeds also fund child life specialists who are trained to provide therapeutic play activities and offer emotional support to young cancer patients. Through medical play involving puppets that pose as patients and other techniques, the child life specialists strive to provide each child with understanding and a sense of control. They also plan and implement daily activities and recreational programs to normalize the childs life in the hospital and the outpatient clinic.
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