Sticky Wax!

At last Friday’s art reception and in the Georgetown clinic this week we have been enjoying a beautiful and simple activity–decorating candles with thin sheets of colorful decorating beeswax. It is simple, fun, and beautiful. The wax comes in beautiful thin sheets. It can be cut with scissors and applied to an existing candle, using only the warmth of your hand to make it stick. It seems that the winter holidays from many faith traditions  involve lighting candles–maybe as the nights grow longer and the daylight hours shorter we crave the symbolic warmth and light of candles.  Here are a few examples of the ones we made in the clinic this week. Enjoy!


“Other duties as required. . .”

Santa arrivesSnowman

Cookie decorating

Balloon Hat

Balloon Hat

Yesterday Santa visited Lombardi, and the Tracy’s Kids team was instrumental in hosting a wonderful celebration for about 100 kids! The Open Studio program for the day was focused on cookie decorating, ornament-making, and a big winter-themed mural, and everybody had a great time. Here’s the clip that make the channel 7 news last night. Enjoy!

The Washington Nationals visit Georgetown!

Our friends at Hope for Henry invited the Washington Nationals to visit clinic today, and it was awesome! Ross Detwiler, Denard Span and Screech hung out with the kids, signed autographs, colored  Christmas ornaments and decorated cookies– and most of all helped the kids decorate a gingerbread version of Nationals Park (Tracy and Kate’s contribution to the event) that featured a custom-printed Jumbotron with all our logos on it! Thanks, everybody, for making it such a great time!

photo_1 photo_2 photo_3 photo_4

Holiday Train Time

Bridge Eiffel Tower Fountain Ladybug train Purple track Thomas Group twoThis post is for all our train buddies at the clinics. On Thursday night I went to see the Holday Train at the US Botanic Garden, right near the US Capitol. Every year in the East Gallery they put up a fanciful landscape of mountains, caves, and dramatic vistas adorned with marvelous architecture–all crafted out of natural materials and threaded with train tracks with model trains zooming around. This year the theme is “World’s Fair,” so you can see the Eiffel Tower, the Space Needle, the London Eye, and all kinds of other great stuff  ingeniously crafted out of sticks and pine cones–and some delightful fairy houses crafted in amazing detail–right down to the seashell bathtubs! And did I mention that this year the trains include Thomas, Percy and Gordon? I hope many of our train fans can see the exhibit–it’s free and open daily until January 5–and on Tuesdays and Thursdays in December until 8:00 pm.

Tracy’s Kids at Carroll Square



Make your plans now to attend the Tracy’s Kids exhibit at Carroll Square Gallery, 975 F St in Washington, DC. The opening reception will be December 13 from 4:30-6:30 p.m., and in addition to some great art and refreshments we will have a little art project for you to make and take home!


This year our young artists have made some special group projects interpreting famous sights in Washington and San Antonio, so come check out some new views on famous landmarks! The show will be up until January 24, and we are planning a special gallery talk by a panel of experts on children’s art for a weekend afternoon in January–stay tuned for details!


Every November at Georgetown we gather in the hospital chapel for an interfaith “Service of Remembrance,” a time to remember the children who have died in our care. Though most  kids with cancer will be cured and go on to do very well, our treatments are not always successful, but all the kids we work with mean a lot to us.Heart pot

At the service we read words of comfort from  many traditions, sing , and light a candle in honor of each child whose family attends. At the reception after the service this year I was talking with the father of a very dear little girl who had died about a month before. I had worked with the patient and her siblings for all the years of her treatment. They are such creative characters–and their work in art therapy helped them express the ups and downs of treatment and get the support they needed along the way.

The patient’s dad asked me what I thought of the service.  I said I thought it was very nice, and asked what he thought. “Grateful,” he replied. “The whole afternoon just made me feel grateful.” This Thanksgiving eve, as I prepare to join family and friends, I am grateful for all the young people and families I work with every day and the many ways they challenge my imagination and enrich my life.

Time For a Check Up!

Play therapy and art therapy often go hand-in-hand, especially at our clinic.  Many of our younger patients will engage in an art making process that turns into a puppet show and then a song or a dance. Often the play that our patients engage in reflects their experiences in the clinic.  Medical play kits allow patients to become doctors, surgeons and nurses performing everything from check- ups to shots on dolls, siblings, parents and staff.

Medical play also allows patients to be in control of something that is potentially scary. Reenacting a scary shot or procedure can help a child feel more in control of their own medical care.

Recently one of our clinic dads got a check up from two of our youngest doctors. They were very thorough in the exam- blood pressure and temperature were repeatedly checked!

medical play1

medical play2


Caption this!

Caption this!

Caption this!

One of our families has a relative serving in the armed forces in Afghanistan. They asked if the kids at the clinic would like to create a garland of “gingerbread men” to send over for the soldiers to decorate their unit. We were delighted to help out.

One day my intern and I took a bunch of blank gingerbread people up for a patient in the hospital to paint. After the patient and her sister and the art therapists were done, we had eight beautiful creations decorated with very wet puff paint. On the way back down to the clinic where our creations could dry in safety, I rounded a corner in the radiation corridor and a gust of wind blew one of our darling little people onto the floor–face down!! When I picked it up, the print it left was really a funny sight! Someone who worked in the area helped us clean it up, and the little guy looked just fine when he dried–fortunately the artist had used plenty of paint!

Gingerbread men

The Ninth Annual “And the Winner Is…” Event!

The ninth annual “And the Winner Is…” event will be on Tuesday, February 25, 2014!

The format for the event this February will remain unchanged from previous years – as we are proud to host one of Washington’s most unique and anticipated fundraisers with no dinner or lengthy speechifying – just a reception and then the chance to watch one of the six nominated and award-winning films that we screen that night.

That evening we will also present our annual 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.  The recipient this year will be Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.  The Senator is a determined advocate for breast cancer detection and prevention.  She unabashedly tells her own story — from discovery to mastectomy to remission – with characteristic candor and good humor.
 The past recipients of the award are 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, have any questions, or are interested in learning more, please contact Susan O’Neill & Associates at 301-229-0124 or

To purchase tickets with a  credit card, please visit our Click and Pledge website!

We are looking forward to another great year and hope to see everyone on Tuesday, February 25, 2014!


TK14EVENT-STD 2All proceeds from the evening support the Tracy’s Kids pediatric art therapy programs that help young cancer patients cope with the emotional stress and trauma surrounding cancer and its treatment — all provided free of charge to the patients and families we serve.  Thanks to your help over the years, we have an unequaled presence throughout the DC metropolitan area as well at Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.

Dr. Aziza Shad on Tracy’s Kids

“It is not unusual to walk into our clinic at Georgetown and see children with infusions in their arms, crayons in their hands, and smiles on their faces.  That uncanny juxtaposition is inspiring and contagious — and it is all thanks to the art therapy provided by Tracy’s Kids.”

Aziza Shad, MD
Director, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Lombardi Cancer Center

Medstar Georgetown University Hospital

Earlier this month MedStar Georgetown University Hospital gave Tracy and Matt an award for our work on behalf of the children treated at its Lombardi Cancer Center. In making the presentation, Dr. Aziza Shad described Tracy’s Kids as the heart and soul of the clinic. She explained that when she interviewed at Lombardi, the very first thing she saw were children sitting at an art table receiving their infusions “with smiles on their faces and crayons in their hands.”  She thanked us for the over $1million that we have given to the pediatric clinic over the past fifteen years — but that thanks should be extended to our donors and supporters. It is because of all the generous donations that Tracy’s Kids is able to help address the emotional toll that cancer and its treatment impose on the children and families that we serve. On behalf of Tracy, Matt and the entire Tracy’s Kids team, we would like to thank our supporters for all that they have given and continue to give to this wonderful program.