2012 Carroll Square Art Show

Tracy’s Kids is excited to announce our 2012 Art Show at the Carroll Square Gallery!
December 14, 2012 – January 25, 2013
Carroll Square Gallery
Washington, DC

We hope you will join us at our opening reception on Friday, December 14th from 4PM to 6PM!

We look forward to celebrating the artwork and many accomplishments made by our talented artists throughout the year.

Carroll Square Gallery
975 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004


Opening Reception: Friday, December 14, 2012, 4:00–6:00pm

Tracy’s Kids & MyCause Water

Tracy’s Kids has joined with MyCause Water!

MyCause Water is a bottled water company that gives 5 cents from every bottle of water they sell to a nonprofit that you can choose–and Tracy’s Kids is a great option!  The way you can get involved is easy:


Voice of America & Tracy’s Kids

Susan Logue from Voice Of America  recently did a profile of Tracy’s Kids entitled “Artful Therapy Helps Children Cope with Cancer. ” Below you can find the article she wrote as well as view the video that Voice Of America made at Tracy’s Kids in Georgetown Hospital’s Lombardi Cancer Center.

Artful Therapy Helps Kids Cope (VIDEO)

Artful Therapy Helps Kids Cope with Cancer

A diagnosis of cancer can be devastating, especially when the patient is a child. 

But art therapy is making it easier for some patients who go to Georgetown Hospital’s Lombardi Cancer Center for treatment. 

Calming influence

Alesia Allen, 10, is all smiles, even as she helps the nurse draw a syringe of her blood.

Although she has finished her chemotherapy, she returns to Georgetown Hospital for regular check-ups. She’s been coming here ever since arriving in the United States from Russia earlier this year.

“I like this place,” Alesia says. She enjoys drawing, painting and playing a fashion design game on an iPad.

The blood draw is almost an afterthought for Alesia now, but her father, Larry Allen, says she was scared the first time she came here, based on her hospital experience in Russia.

“Medically it was OK, but in every other aspect it wasn’t,” he says.

According to Allen, Alesia was strapped into a bed during her treatments in Russia and was told the cancer was her fault.

“The first time we walked in here, six months ago, the art therapy is what kept her calm,” Allen remembers. “Even when she looked like she was going to have a meltdown, Tracy helped her keep it together.”

Tracy’s Kids

Tracy Councill is the art therapist who works with Alesia and other kids like her. She founded Tracy’s Kids at Georgetown Hospital 20 years ago.  Since then, the pediatric art therapy program has been replicated at three other hospitals in the Washington area, as well as one in Texas.

“Just engaging in the art process can be very grounding and relaxing in a really scary place,” Councill says.

The clinic doesn’t look scary. It was designed so art would be the first thing patients see when they enter. There are paintings, drawings and craft projects everywhere.  Even the ceiling tiles are covered with pictures.

Most of the art is bright and cheerful, but there are darker works.

“We get a lot of monsters,” Councill says. She believes they are symbolic of the anger young cancer patients experience.  “A lot of times when patients are going through treatment, they really want to be good. They know their parents are sad, and they are causing everybody a lot of trouble. The art process opens them up and gives them an avenue where they can put their darker feelings and anger, because they have a lot to be angry about.”

No one is depicting monsters today. While he receives a transfusion for aplastic anemia, Akele Carpentier creates a model of an amusement park out of cardboard and modeling clay.

He comes here twice a week to get transfusions through the port in his chest. “It’s hard not to remember that I have a port in my chest.”

But designing a fantasy helps, Councill says.

“When a kid does a process like that, I think of it actually as they are creating a little world.  It’s a way of using their imagination to take them outside of the hospital and put them in another place.”

Lasting impact

Dr. Aziza Shad, who heads Georgetown’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program, can’t imagine caring for her patients without the art therapy program.

“I think children who are emotionally comfortable with their diagnosis and who have emotional support stay fewer days in the hospital. I honestly truly believe that,” she says. “And I think more importantly when they are done with treatment for cancer, they tend to adjust better.”

Whether that’s true or not, it’s clear that art therapy has improved these patients’ quality of life, by helping them cope with their disease and its treatment.

From all of us at Tracy’s Kids, thank you Susan!

Just Tryan It

Earlier this month Ryan Darby was recognized as one of ABC 7’s Harris Heroes! We wanted to congratulate Ryan, who is a member of the Tracy’s Kids family at Lombardi, and share his story for anyone who missed it on the news.  Be sure to also check out this link to the video on ABC 7’s site!

Just Tryan It helping families deal with childhood cancer

Ryan Darby says treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia can be tough. He gets headaches, pain in his knees and pain in his back.

 “It was hard in the beginning, but I just kept working through it,” Ryan says.

When he has to stay in the hospital, he says his family and friends help him through it. He says they were always there for him, watching movies and bringing him games when he was down.

That support inspired him and his mother to start a foundation.

“We’re one of the more fortunate families,” Ryan says. “We can afford gas and food but some families can’t so we have to help out.”

The foundation is called “Just Tryan It.”

For three years, it has held an annual triathlon for kids to raise money to help children with cancer.

This year, 350 participants raced, raising $125,000.

Ryan recently presented a check to Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, where he’s being treated.

“It takes a little bit of the load off for somebody else so they can be with their child and there’s nothing more important than that,” Mollie Darby, Ryan’s mother says.

Doctors agree.

“They don’t have to worry about where next meal is coming or if lose health insurance or who is going to take care of the other children at home,” Dr. Aziza Shad, director of the Pediatric Hematology Oncology Blood & Marrow Transplantation Program at Medstar Georgetown.

Bernice Graham says Just Tryan It has allowed her to be with her 7-year-old daughter Kenyah in the hospital.

“When you’re a single mom and go from working to not working, taking care of three kids at the time to have someone out there that understands … it’s amazing,” she says.

And Ryan says he’s “just tryan” to make treatment easier for others and his work is far from finished.

“I feel like it’s my call,” Ryan says.



Way to go, Ryan. We’re proud of you.

Thanks, ABC7.

Senator Arlen Specter

On February 15, 2006 Tracy’s Kids presented our First Annual Courage Award to Senator Arlen Specter during our annual “And the Winner Is…” fundraiser. The Courage Award recognizes a public figure who serves as a role model, exemplifying the strength, dignity and perseverance necessary to face the daily challenges imposed by cancer and its treatment. Senator Specter fought hard over many years and is the embodiment of The Courage Award. He will be missed.

United States Senator Arlen Specter | February 12, 1930 – October 14, 2012

Happily Hungry: Smart Recipes for Kids with Cancer

We are excited to announce the publication of Danielle Cook Navidi’s new cookbook, “Happily Hungry: Smart Recipes for Kids with Cancer.”

You can buy the book here, and be sure to check out the Forward by Georgetown University’s Dr. Aziza Shad, MD.

Happy reading and cooking!

September 2012: National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

On August 31, 2012, President Obama proclaimed September 2012 to be National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

“This month, we pay tribute to the families, friends, professionals, and communities who lend their strength to children fighting pediatric cancer.  May their courage and commitment continue to move us toward new cures, healthier outcomes, and a brighter future for America’s youth.”
Thank you, Mr. President.

Click here to view the official Press Release

Our new website is live!

Welcome to the new and improved Tracy’s Kids website! We have made some changes around here—and are pretty excited about them, and hope you will be too. Most importantly, we are now blogging. Each of the art therapists will be contributing to the blog, posting pictures, updating us on their current projects, and keeping fans of Tracy’s Kids up to date on the daily lives at each of the clinics. We hope you will read along and enjoy the new website!

What have we been up to?

During 2011, Tracy’s Kids provided 11,271 hours of art therapy sessions—up 17% from 2010.  The program had 13,804 patient contacts, and 603 hours of consultation with medical treatment teams as part of its highly individualized engagement with thousands of young people and their families.

[Read more…]

Elephant Wisdom

In 2002, the District of Columbia hosted a public art exhibit called Party Animals. Artists from all over the area were invited to submit designs to decorate an elephant or donkey-the symbols of our two main political parties.

[Read more…]