Archives for February 2014

And the Winner Is . . .

Last night’s ninth annual Tracy’s Kids Red Carpet Fundraiser was a grand success. We had a great turnout, and our guests seemed to really enjoy coming together in support of our cause. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, our Courage Award winner, offered touching and impassioned remarks about what it means to be a cancer patient and the power of human connection.

We are proud and humbled at the same time–proud of the good work we do and grateful for the support so many of you offer the kids we serve–and humbled every day as we work with such brave and resilient young people. Here are a handful of photos from last night, courtesy of our event photographer, Carly Glazier, We’ll post a more extensive gallery soon, but we hope you’ll get a feel for the what a great night it was!




Silent Auction Art!

The format for tomorrow night’s Tracy’s Kids Red Carpet Fundraiser will include a silent auction of some very special Washington, DC-themed works of art. Five are by groups of kids working together at the Tracy’s Kids locations, two by artists who are friends of Tracy’s Kids, and the other by Tracy Councill.  For a sneak peek at the items, take a look at the photos and descriptions below. Hope to see you there!Fourth of July Monument

1. Washington Monument on the Fourth of July: 38 inches wide and 60 inches tall, acrylic paint on unstretched canvas. Created by patients at the Lombardi Cancer Center, working collaboratively using syringes and hospital equipment, in addition to conventional art materials, to  pay homage to the Monument in its scaffolding during renovation.
Cherry Blossom Monument
2. Washington Monument at Cherry Blossom Time: 37 inches wide and 60 inches tall, acrylic paint on unstretched canvas. Created by patients at the Lombardi Cancer Center, working collaboratively using Operating Room sponges create the effect of the blocks the Monument is made of, and hospital toothbrushes to make the cherry blossoms, in addition to conventional art materials.
Washington Monument Kite Festival
3.Washington Monument during the Kite Festival: 39 inches wide and 60 inches tall,  acrylic paint on unstretched canvas. Created by patients at the Lombardi Cancer Center, working collaboratively using Operating Room sponges create the effect of the blocks the Monument is made of, in addition to conventional art materials. Each participant designed an origami paper kite to represent him or herself,  flying around the monument grounds.
DC Skyline
4. Washington Skyline Composite Painting: 40 inches wide and 36 inches tall (approximate), assemblage of canvas boards, acrylic and mixed media, mounted on foam core. Painting was created by inpatients and outpatients at Children’s National Medical Center, showing the Washington DC skyline as visible from their hospital windows.
5. The Alamo: 38 inches wide and 27 inches tall, assemblage of canvas boards, acrylic and marker, mounted on foam core. Created by patients and families members at the newest Tracy’s Kids program at Methodist Children’s Hospital, San Antonio, TX. Even kids in isolation for Bone Marrow Transplant could participate in this group project because the individual canvases were painted separately and put together after!
Jefferson Memorial
6. The Jefferson Memorial at Cherry Blossom Time: 16×20 inches framed, soft pastels on paper. This pastel painting was created especially for this event by TK Program Director, Tracy Councill. Tracy earned her BFA in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University and her MA in Art Therapy from The George Washington University. In addition to her work with Tracy’s Kids, she continues to create and show her own drawings, paintings and block prints.
Light Square
7. Light Square #2: 30×30 inches, Acrylic and molding paste on canvas, by Kari Kant, Kari Kant is a professional artist based in Washington, D.C. with a studio in the Newseum Residences. Influenced by Post-Impressionist artists such as Vincent Van Gogh she has adapted techniques such as the thick application of paint and the distortion of form for expressive effect to create her own unique use of texture and color.
Washington DC at Night
8. Washington DC at Night: 30×40 inches, Acrylic on Canvas,  by Sabra Rodgers, age 11.  Sabra is an evolving artist from McLean, VA who has donated her time and work to Tracy’s Kids. This piece is her latest contribution.

And the Movies Are…

Thanks to our friends at the studios, we have once again lined up a fantastic slate of movies for this year’s “And the Winner Is….”
On Tuesday evening, February 25, 2014, please join us in walking the red carpet before eating, drinking and then watching one of the six nominated and award-winning films that Tracy’s Kids is showing right in the heart of Hollywood’s award season.  David Cohen and Matt Gerson wanted to let you know that our guests will be able to choose to see either:
  •  Gravity — Winner of the DGA’s Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film [Courtesy of Time Warner]
  • 12 Years a Slave — Winner of the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Picture [Courtesy of 21st Century Fox]
  • American Hustle — Winner of three Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture [Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment]
  • Dallas Buyers Club — Winner of two SAG awards recognizing both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto [Courtesy of Comcast NBCU]
  • Nebraska — Winner of Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival, and from the National Board of Review and LA Film Critics — all recognizing Bruce Dern [Courtesy of Viacom]
  • Philomena — nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actress recognizing Dame Judi Dench [Courtesy of The Weinstein Company]

That night we will recognize North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp with our Courage Award. Her determined advocacy for breast cancer detection and prevention made her an easy choice. Each year we present a Courage Award to a public person who exemplifies the strength, dignity and perseverance necessary to face the daily challenges imposed by cancer and its treatment. Past recipients of the award are the late Arlen Specter, Marcelle Leahy, Barbara and Tim Johnson, John McCain, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Sue Myrick, Barbara Grassley and Dave Camp.

If you would like to purchase tickets to the event you may do so online or by contacting Susan O’Neill and Associates at

We hope to see you there!


Spread the Love!



This past week the kids were busy making colorful Valentine’s for family members, classmates and their favorite nurses and doctors. They even shared a little love with the  Tracy’s Kids art therapists!


We were the lucky recipients of a box of chocolates decorated by the siblings of one of our patients!


Patients and their families used collage materials to create beautiful Valentine’s for their loved ones

Valentine cards made by the Georgetown students for out patients

Valentine cards made by the Georgetown students for out patients

The Georgetown Hematology/Oncology staff  created a Valentine garland with “get- well- soon” notes to one of our patients who had to spend Valentine’s weekend in the hospital.

Garland of Valentines

Garland of Valentines


And the Winner Is. . .

As we get ready for the Tracy’s Kids Red Carpet Fundraiser on February 25, we wanted to share with you the video our friends at Comcast made about last year’s event. It’s pretty awesome, including lots of behind-the-scenes video of the kids making their “Big Heads” for the music video.

David Cohen of Comcast/NBCUniversal, Marcelle Leahy, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congressman Dave Camp and Matt Gerson

David Cohen of Comcast/NBCUniversal, Marcelle Leahy, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congressman Dave Camp and Matt Gerson



I can’t help taking this opportunity to brag on one of the artists who was featured in our recent show at Carroll Square. If you visited the show, you saw a lot of really nice work, and one of the most outstanding pieces had also been entered in the Scholastic Art Awards competition. Congratulations, Amanda Johnson, for the well-deserved recognition for your Zentangled Zebra! See the official award notification email below:
CONGRATULATIONS! On behalf of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, we would like to announce that you are a Regional Scholastic Art Awards Winner! The following work/s received recognition:
Amanda Johnson, Age:15
Dominion High School, Grade:9
Zentangled Zebra, Art
Honorable Mention, Drawing
Natasha Chahin, Educator

World Cancer Day

According to the “Purple Your Profile” campaign on Facebook, today, February 4, is World Cancer Day. The “purple” thing is a campaign by Chevrolet to support the American Cancer Society:, but it got me thinking about what we at Tracy’s Kids can add to the conversation.

We work with pediatric cancer patients and their families–but until I began working at Lombardi over twenty years ago I, like most people, really didn’t understand that kids could get cancer. Yet it is estimated that in 2007 one in every 1,000 young adults in the US was a childhood cancer survivor (Shrag, N. M., McKeown, R. E., Jackson, K. L.,  Cuffe, S. P.,  Neuberg, R. W. (2008).Stress-related mental disorders in childhood cancer survivors. Pediatric Blood Cancer,50, 98-103.)  Advances in medicine have made many childhood cancers treatable chronic illnesses, and research is making these treatments better all the time.

What we do at Tracy’s Kids isn’t cancer treatment, but it helps kids and families manage the treatment better. Despite advances, cancer treatment, especially for children, is long and intense–requiring many hours in the clinic or hospital–and time away from school and friends. Through art and play we help kids and families process all the new information and changes in their routine that a cancer diagnosis brings. And we also help them rebuild their sense of who they are. A serious medical condition has a way of taking over a person’s identity–you go from “I’m a fourth-grader who likes to play Angry Birds” to “I’m a Cancer Patient–and my parents are really worried.” But working creatively in the treatment center changes how kids experience themselves–with our support they can relax, feel more normal, forget about the treatment and focus on what makes them unique. We’ve had kids who never really cared for art find gifts they never knew they had and continue to express themselves through art long after their cancer treatment is over.

Visual language is a powerful tool for expression and connection–a bridge from one person to another–and a bridge that you can walk over time and again, even from a distance, by understanding and appreciating the images that people create. So, from the kids in the hospitals we work with, here are some visual messages on World Cancer Day.