CNMC American Flag!

Local artist, Kari Kant, has graciously chosen Tracy’s Kids as a charitable partner for her art show on the Rooftop Terrace of the Newseum Building. A portion of the sales from her abstract paintings will be donated to Tracy’s Kids – Thank you so much, Kari!

Maybe even more exciting, she invited the children served by each of the Tracy’s Kids chapters to create their own artwork to be included in her show. Each Tracy’s Kids site has created their own version of the American flag, inspired by one of Kari Kant’s abstract motifs. To recognize the Kari Kant art show opening this evening, we wanted to give everyone a preview of the American flag created by the children and teenagers at the main campus of Children’s National Medical Center.

Our flag brings together the smaller individual works of over twenty different participants in the Tracy’s Kids program at the CCBD at CNMC. The unique qualities of each person are certainly visible, but the overall image of the flag speaks to the community that can be fostered through creativity and art-making.

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Thank you to Kari Kant for supporting Tracy’s Kids and for inviting our children and their artwork to have a moment in the spotlight alongside her own paintings!

It’s coming together…

Between a busy art room full of patients, siblings and other family members out of school for Spring Break and making our usual visits to inpatient rooms we have been on our toes these past few weeks!  During a few spare moments we have begun to put together pieces of our collaborative canvas project from Creative Arts Therapies Week.  It has been so fun to see how smaller pieces of artwork born of so many different visions can come together to create something entirely new! 

Here is a glimpse of our progress! And we’ll show you the final project very soon… Stay tuned!

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Tutu’s for Treatment

Tutu’s for Treatment

When a child is in treatment for cancer all extra-curricular activities must stop. This may also continue after the active treatment is over due to decreased “counts” or lowered immune system. For a little five year old girl one of these missed activities was Ballet class. Since she could not go to ballet, the clinic brought the ballet to her. We told her to come to clinic in her tutu and gives us a ballet lesson. What she did not know was the whole clinic wore tutu’s! We even taught all the little girls how to make their own tutu in the art area. Tutu day was a huge hit with alll the patients, staff, and families!

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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.  

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AND THE WINNER IS…TRACY’S KIDS!

NEW DATE!

The 8th annual And the Winner Is…Tracy’s Kids event is now taking place in Washington, DC on the evening of

Wednesday, February 13th 2013

 

2012 was another great year for Tracy’s Kids and the children and families we serve. This year we provided some 15,000 free hours of art therapy in five pediatric cancer clinics.  And we have now spent over $2.5 million to help pediatric cancer patients cope with the emotional stress and trauma imposed by cancer and its treatment.
But we could not have done any of it without the financial support from our wonderful friends.
We hope that you will be able to join us at the eighth annual “And the Winner is….” which will take place on Wednesday evening, February 13, 2013.
That evening our guests will once again walk the red carpet before eating, drinking and then watching one of six nominated and award winning films that we screen right in the heart of Hollywood’s award season. 
Thanks to the success of this annual event, the Tracy’s Kids program is offered at no cost to the children we work with at four Washington area clinics – the Children’s National Medical Center in both Washington and Fairfax, the Life With Cancer program at Fairfax/Inova Hospital and the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University Hospital – plus Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.

 

Click here to view the official 2013 invitation: 

Tracy’s Kids Invitation – February 13 2013

 

You can purchase tickets by credit card through our online donation site or with a check by contacting Susan O’Neill & Associates at 301-229-0124 or  TracysKids@ONeillEvent.com.

We hope to see you on the red carpet celebrating Tracy’s Kids on our new night:

Wednesday, February 13th!

Alligators In Cages

 

I think that sometimes we all wish that we could lock our fears and anxieties away in a place where we could feel safe from them.  Recently, I was working with a little girl who reminded me of the amazing power of art therapy to provide comfort and security in a scary place like the hospital.  This little girl asked me to work with her to make a picture using colored tape.  When I asked what I should make she answered immediately, “an alligator!!” When I made my masking tape alligator on the page she gasped, “oh no! He is going to bite us!”  I then asked this little girl if there was any thing we could do to keep this alligator from harming us.  After thinking for a second she responded, “Let’s put him in a cage!” We spent the remainder of the session making alligators and snakes and putting them inside of cages so we could be protected from their sharp teeth.  The next time I saw that little girl she replayed the same scenario with creating more scary creatures and putting them into cages.  This little girl became quite energetic while putting her scary animals into cages and seemed to feel incredibly empowered by that simple act.  For her, all it took was a roll of masking tape and she was able to keep her fears at bay and feel tough and in control over all the scary things happening around her in the hospital.   

Happy Halloween!

We’ve been making lots of monsters and having Halloween fun around here!

Elizabeth Burks: Becoming an art therapist…continued

Although I somehow knew in the back of my mind that art therapy was where I would ultimately find my place in life, the journey there was much less than straight forward.  After college, there was no way I was ready to jump right back into graduate school, so I worked for several years in retail position that required a large amount of creativity with paper goods.  My favorite part of the job was encouraging people to experiment with art materials and to help them feel empowered through instruction and inspiration in any art endeavor.  Eventually, I felt I needed to move away from retail and more toward the aspect of my job that had left me feeling fulfilled. 

I applied to graduate programs and was accepted to the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, IL.  I especially like the emphasis Adler placed on addressing issues of social exclusion, sending its students into underserved areas of the community for internships.  As I started practicing art therapy as an intern in my second year of graduate school, I was fortunate enough to be placed in an urban hospital working primarily with children.  It was here that I developed the desire to continue working with kids challenged by life-altering illnesses, ultimately leading me to find Tracy’s Kids!

National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

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

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Meet the Puppets