Getting Ready for the Red Carpet!

As we may have mentioned once or twice, our big annual “And the winner is. . .Tracy’s Kids,” Red Carpet Fundraiser is coming up on Wednesday, February 13. This will be the eighth event—our one big fundraising event of the year.

For those who have not attended before, it is a fun occasion—a Washington Style Red Carpet—business attire, not evening dress–and our guests are not movie stars, but members of Congress, their staff, and other friends of Tracy’s Kids.
What a crowd!

Tracy's_Kids_Photos_058

The Tracy's Kids Courage AwardAmanda Johnson and Mom

The real expert speaks!

I have been honored to shake hands with the likes of Arlen Specter, Patrick and Marcelle Leahy,  Mike and Karen Pence, Barbara and Tim Johnson, John McCain, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ben Cardin, Sue Myrick, Charles and Barbara Grassley, Orrin Hatch, Chris Matthews and George Stephanopoulos as they expressed their support and appreciation for the work of Tracy’s Kids.

As an artist and art therapist, I am most at home outside the spotlight. Working with kids and families at the hospital is a low-key kind of work. It has value in part because it helps patients and families feel normal in a place that isn’t like home.

iphone pictures 2012 079

It is both an honor and a little daunting to “say a few words” to an audience full of lawmakers—but these folks are kind, gracious, open and real—and they make it a great event. I am very, very lucky to be “Tracy of Tracy’s Kids!”

One more week!

Just a reminder that our

2013 “And the Winner Is” event

is one week away!

Tracy’s Kids Invitation – February 13 2013

 

Don’t forget to buy your tickets so you can join us on the red carpet next Wednesday, February 13, 2013!

 

Slide1

 

If you have any questions, please contact

Susan O’Neill and Associates at 

301-229-0124 or TracysKids@ONeillEvent.com.

 

We look forward to seeing everyone next week!

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

 In the last month a couple of patients have come into the clinic wanting to make paper airplanes and boats. Using common materials, the patients become sophisticated engineers as they create planes they hope will successfully soar across the clinic and boats that will float in our sink.  Our role as art therapists is to play safety crew making sure the path is clear before take- off and landing!

Ready for take-off

Ready for take-off

 The goal first and foremost is- does the plane fly? Does the boat float?  Sometimes hours are spent just perfecting the design through trial and error. The process of refining the design, changing materials and sometimes starting all over again offers an opportunity for kids to learn resilience and gain confidence.  

Floating the boat

Floating the boat

Making airplanes and boats also allows patients to think about travel and where they might go if their creations could carry them there. Describing the journey, the destination, what and who they would bring with them provides valuable insight into the inner world of the child. For the patient, exploring where they might go helps them imagine a place outside of the hospital and gives voice to the curiosity that most kids have about the world.

Paper airplanes also have a contagious quality. Often, when one person in the art area is creating a paper airplane others come over to join in. As patients share the art table, folding paper airplanes together, friendships can take root.  This is especially valuable for the patients who cannot go to school due to their treatment.  

 paper planes

The Show, Part 2!

An unexpected opportunity arose late last week when there was a sudden opening in the Lombardi Atrium Gallery schedule. Arts and Humanities Director Nancy Morgan invited us to put up work by the kids–and we had just taken down our show at Carroll Square, so the timing was perfect!

There wasm’t room for everything–no sculptures and only some of the flat work–but it’s a great opportunity to enjoy our kids’ thoughtfulness and creativity a little longer! Please enjoy the photos of the gallery below:

IMG_7774

 

Beautiful colors by kids from three of our programs

Beautiful colors by kids from three of our programs

Landscapes

Landscapes

Poems, stories, and play on reflection and symmetry

Poems, stories, and play on reflection and symmetry

Very fine drawings!

Very fine drawings!

Thoughts about faces by kids of all ages

Thoughts about faces by kids of all ages

Painted thoughts

Painted thoughts

Community treehouse from CCBD-NoVa clinic!

Community treehouse from CCBD-NoVa clinic!

Beautiful reflections on treatment by a young adult patient

Beautiful reflections on treatment by a young adult patient

Tracy's Kids at Lombardi 2013

Tracy’s Kids at Lombardi 2013

Radiation mask

 Much of our time working with children with cancer and other life-altering diseases is spent trying to transform thoughts and experiences that are challenging and really scary into something more manageable.  Incorporating pieces of medical equiptment into artwork can help to normalize kids’ experiences and give them a sense of mastery and control during their treatment process.  Art work such as this can serve as a reminder of the bravey and resilience shown by children facing such daunting medical treatment.

The mother of one of our young patients (who recently underwent a bone marrow transplant) brought his radiation mask to the art therapists, asking them to transform it into “something that can hang in [my child’s] room to remind him of everything he’s gotten through.”

radiation mask

A common part of the preparation regimen for a bone marrow transplant is radiation, which destroys the patient’s own bone marrow in order to make way for the donor’s bone marrow. If the radiation is to a person’s head, a radiation mask is made to help keep the person’s head still and in the same position for each radiation treatment (which can be multiple days, sometimes over the course of several weeks).  The creation and wearing of a radiation mask can be a very scary experience, as materials are stretched over the child’s face in order to ensure an accurate fit.  During radiation, a child must wear the hardened mask which is secured to a table. 

Using a heat tool and scissors, the art therapists were able to cut away the extra material from the face of the radiation mask and painted it with bright colors and stars.  Now the mask is a fantastic reminder for the patient and his family of the many challenges they have overcome throughout their fight against cancer.  

Mask5Mask1