From A Dear Friend of TK

Tracy’s Kids’ mission is very personal to me.  As a parent, I stood by holding my own critically ill child and appreciated how Art Therapy filled in the gaps where the acute healthcare system stops.  Without Tracy’s Kids as part of the appointments, hospitalizations and the isolating post-transplant care, the children would be without a way to express their emotions.  It enables them not only survive but thrive as children.”


Jalene’s mom asked us to post these pictures of all the wonderful art she does with Tracy’s Kids at Methodist Children’s Hospital-San Antonio! What a prolific artist she is!

Reflections on Childhood Cancer Awareness Month


From a Tracy’s Kids Participant

We were asked to contribute a guest blog to the site of an organization called the Cancer Knowledge Network. Web: .

Here’s the link to what Tracy wrote:

Tracy’s Kids 2013 Annual Report

The 2013 Annual Report is now available! 

Paper Airplanes

During 2013, Tracy’s Kids provided 10,777 art therapy sessions, made 22,357 patient contacts, and spent 841 hours of consultation with medical treatment teams – all designed to help children with cancer address the emotional toll imposed by the disease and its treatment.

Included in the 2013 Annual Report are updates and photos from each of our programs, a review of some of our larger projects from the year, and the financial information from fiscal year 2013.  

You can access the report by clicking here.

A Profile on our Founder

Children’s National Medical Center profiled Tracy’s Kids Chairman and Founder, Matt Gerson, in its April 2014  Newsletter.

“Admired as a trailblazer for art therapy, Matt Gerson is a Washington, DC-based executive who established Tracy’s Kids as an independent charity. Since 1998, he has raised almost $4 million in philanthropic support to help children with cancer cope with the emotional stress imposed by the disease and its treatment. Of that, $1.6 million has benefitted children and families at Children’s National-where the program is donated at no cost to our patients.”

Matt Gerson

The complete interview and profile are available here: Matt Gerson – Philanthropist Profile

Incredible Creativity

When a kid is fascinated by something, he may amaze you with his creativity. One of our kids invented a remarkable way of building airplanes out of paper. He captures all the salient details, draws the whole plane on paper, cuts it out and shapes it into a 3-D airplane!

Medical condition or no, this guy is an amazing spatial thinker—and he chooses to display his creations in the art room at his hospital where airplane aficionados of all ages (other kids and doctors too!) can appreciate his talent.



The 2014 “And the Winner Is” Event

First of all, we would like to say


to everyone who came out to support Tracy’s Kids on Tuesday, February 25, 2014. It was an amazing night spent celebrating Tracy’s Kids on the red carpet and at the movies.


To everyone who came to the event and donated to support Tracy’s Kids, we hope thank you. It is only with your continued support that we are able to continue to do this important work.


We would also like to thank the following individuals and organizations for helping make our ninth annual event such a great success:


At the event we presented Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) with the Courage Award for the perseverance and bravery she has shown during her personal battle with cancer. She spoke briefly about her own experiences, and we were honored with all that she shared. You can watch her speech by clicking here.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp at the 2014 And the Winner Is Event

Senator Heidi Heitkamp at the 2014 And the Winner Is Event.

David Cohen, Marcelle Leahy and Matt Gerson present the Courage Award

David Cohen, Marcelle Leahy and Matt Gerson present the Courage Award

We were honored to have the company of many Members of Congress again this year. Our guests included Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA), the 2013 Courage Award Winner Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI), Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL), Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Congressman Tom Marino (R-PA), Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR), Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). The FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly was also in attendance.

Tracy's Kids participants and supporters Devan Tatlow and his mother joined us on the red carpet again this year!

Tracy’s Kids participants and supporters Devan Tatlow and his mother joined us on the red carpet again this year!

Here’s a quick roundup of the event, for those of you who were unable to join us.  After Matt Gerson welcomed everyone and spoke briefly about his own fight with cancer and his continued dedication to the Tracy’s Kids cause, Tracy Councill introduced Dr. Aziza Shad of Georgetown’s Lombardi Cancer Center. Dr. Shad spoke of the positive impact that Tracy’s Kids has had at the clinic and personally thanked Tracy’s Kids supporters for enabling us to do this important work. Marcelle Leahy introduced David Cohen from Comcast/NBCUniversal to present Senator Heidi Heitkamp with the Courage Award. Melissa Maxfield of Comcast/NBCUniversal then drew the raffle winner for tickets to see Katy Perry at the Verizon Center, and announced the movie theaters where each of the six movies would be screened. Our guests then made their way upstairs to the theaters to enjoy popcorn and the movie of their choice.

As a reminder, the 2014 movies that our guests chose from were:

  •  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/NBCUniversal]
  • 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]

This year we auctioned artwork done by Tracy’s Kids as well as a piece by Tracy’s Kids Program Director, Tracy Councill. Tracy’s Kids friends and fellow artists, Kari Kant and Sabra Rogers, were also generous enough to donate pieces to our event. The artwork was extremely popular, and gave our guests a chance to see some of the pieces done at each of our program locations.


It was another great year of “And the Winner Is” – we look forward to seeing you all next year for our 10th Annual “And the Winner Is” and celebrating with you then!

Globetrotter meets Peep!


Today our friends at Hope for Henry brought Harlem Globetrotter player Bull Bullard to visit patients in the hospital and clinic. When he stopped by we were hard at work on our (top secret) entry in the Washington Post magazine Peeps contest. Bull asked if he could try his hand at making a special peep and he joined the kids at the art table. He chose a giant white bunny and made it into the good-looking character below. Maybe a self-portrait? Peep-terature Portraiture??photo 1




Ready to Peep!

What inspiration will marshmallow chicks and bunnies bring to Tracy’s Kids this year? Last year our entry in the Washington Post Magazine’s Peeps Diorama Contest depicted some valiant teens saving a Sol Lewitt drawing from falling off the wall at the National Gallery– and though we didn’t win, we  made the Kids’ Post. This year, who knows?? We’re stocked up on Peeps and ready to brainstorm.

Ready to Peep!

Ready to Peep!

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.