Tracy’s Kids 2012 Annual Report

The 2012 Annual Report is now available!

IMG_0964

Tracy’s Kids participant at Life With Cancer

Included in the 2012 Annual Report are updates and photos from each of our five programs as well as financial information for the 2012 fiscal year.

The Art Room at CNMC

The Art Room at CNMCYou can access the

 You can access the report in the lower left hand corner of the homepage of our website or by clicking here.

20130516_120159

Kathleen Sutter and one of the Tracy’s Kids participants in the art room at MCH-San Antonio

 We are proud of the work done in 2012 and excited about all the new things happening this year for Tracy’s Kids!

Screen Shot 2013-05-14 at 2.27.58 PM

The entrance to Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University Hospital features Tracy’s Kids artwork all year long.

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.

http://wj.la/Ra3Bqd

 

Way to go, Ryan. We’re proud of you.

Thanks, ABC7.

Happily Hungry: Smart Recipes for Kids with Cancer

Author Danielle Navidi has turned her experience as the mom of a kid with cancer into an amazing resource for anyone who wants to cook and eat healthily!

 I first met Danielle when her 11 year old son was diagnosed with cancer. He and his siblings were active participants in the Tracy’s Kids art therapy program at Lombardi throughout his treatment and recovery—creative, open, bright and funny despite the intrusion of cancer into their family’s life!

 She was already a caterer, but something Fabien said shortly after he finished treatment inspired her to pursue an MS in nutrition. One night at dinner Fabien said, “This is my new favorite soup, Mom. It tastes like someone is taking care of me.”

 Happily Hungry

While the recipes were in development, Danielle did cooking demonstrations in the clinic at Lombardi—filling the whole clinic with the colors, smells and sounds of delicious food being prepared. Kids would take a break from their art-making to help Danielle chop vegetables or prepare smoothies. The kids and their parents gave Danielle feedback on her recipes—“not sweet enough;” “it tastes healthy”; “I like it, but I didn’t think I would!” and she chuckled and encouraged them to keep an open mind.

 Happily Hungry is already available on Amazon.com (click here to go to the link at Amazon). Here’s an excerpt from one of the online reviews:

 This cookbook is the most awesome cookbook I’ve seen in years. Of course, it was written with an eye for kids with cancer, but anyone who has a picky eater in their household can benefit from these great recepies and tips. I have made the chicken soup, the muffins and the smoothies. The kids and I have a plan to make all the recipes before the end of the year. The recipes are absolutely fabulous and the book itself is beautiful, moving, fun and enticing to both adults and kids.

 As an art therapist in pediatric oncology, I see kids and families dig deep and come up with the courage and resilience to fight through some really tough stuff. It is an incredible privilege to share Danielle’s story and the amazing accomplishment that is Happily Hungry.

Transformation: Lemons into lemonade

I was thinking today about what our programs teach the kids. People don’t come to the hospital expecting to make art, and at most hospitals art is not part of the process. But healing and creativity have a lot in common. They are both about transformation—making lemons into lemonade.

We start by meeting kids and families where they are, literally. We are part of the hospital staff. We know the routine, who’s who, and how to find your way around. We are there to help them find a way to just “be” in the treatment space. We invite them to let their imaginations, their stories, their interests and personalities help them through. And what they learn, I hope, is to trust their imaginations.

This summer at Lombardi we’ve been working on a group project that involves making “Big Heads” out of cardboard boxes. They’re part of a bigger project, which I’ll tell you more about in a later blog entry. But what is cool about the process so far is that kids can look at a cardboard box and see cheetahs, birds, monkeys, people, characters—and with  duct tape and tempera paint we work together to make them come alive. Spending an afternoon transforming a box into a graceful, beautiful, funky piece of art gives a kid a real feeling of accomplishment.

When I was in fourth grade we had an assignment to create a 3-D moth or butterfly out of paper. We were given two large sheets of white paper and told to draw our chosen butterfly as big as possible. We cut out the shape, traced it onto another piece of paper, and colored both pieces to show the markings of the butterfly. We then stuffed them with crushed paper and cotton balls and stapled around the edges. I made a luna moth, which was beautiful with its pale green wings, brown body, fuzzy antennae and graceful shape. It felt like a huge accomplishment when I was done. To me, it looked like a real, giant luna moth. The teacher hung all the butterflies around the classroom for a while, and they looked great. That was over forty years ago, and I still remember both the beauty of the object and how great I felt about making it.

I hope that many of the kids we work with will look back and remember the wonderful things they made, the solutions they figured out, and the feeling of accomplishment that came from the work. It’s a surprise—you never know what you can do until you try.