The art of healing sick kids

Creative and Support Services

How do you explain to a child what a trach is and why she won’t be able to talk? Who helps to calm and distract a child while a nurse puts in an IV? Who supports the divorced parents who love their dying child but can barely speak? Who coordinates birthdays and holidays to try and create some normalcy for our critically ill and terminal kids?

“I created this box as a space to store the thoughts, feelings, and memories of what I have been through in my life. I chose to paint the inside of the box to look like the sea, so you must open up the box to reveal the Sea of Feelings.” – Jalliyah, a pediatric patient sharing about her Art Therapy project

Using play to diminish fears

Being in the hospital is scary for anyone, but especially for a child. At Beacon, we have an expert child life team dedicated to easing the fear and anxiety of our children. They do this with distractive play therapy. Our team works with infants up to age 21 and their families. By using play, our team of specialists can assess, educate and prepare children and their families for what they can expect during their visit and care procedures — all while trying to keep life normal. At Beacon, we care for the whole family.

“They helped me not be scared and have made me comfortable about everything. They have told me funny stories and kept me entertained. They are able to focus completely on me because they don’t do things like putting needles in.”– Ian, a pediatric patient talking about his child life specialist

Using play to boost healing

Sometimes words are tough. Oftentimes, our kids aren’t able to articulate how they feel. They have thoughts floating around inside them that they need to get out. Fear, depression, anxiety and hope. With art and music therapy programs, our children learn how to express themselves in nonverbal ways. Our services help families as well. Thanks to people like you, our music therapist can now record heartbeats. She then syncs the heartbeat with a favorite song of a terminally ill child, creating a keepsake for parents, one they will treasure and can listen to long after the loss of their child.

“I think ‘peaceful’ is the best way to describe how music therapy made me feel,” Erica remembers. “For Kase, I think it made him feel safe, which, in my opinion, is exactly what he needed.” – NICU mom on her experience with Cambrae Fox, Beacon Children’s Music Therapist

But not without you

These services are 100% donor-funded. They are not “medical” services or billable to insurance. We offer them at no charge because it’s the right thing to do. We believe a child should see the hospital and their medical team without fear in their eyes. We believe someone should be there for families who are experiencing a challenging time. Because of you and others like you, who also believe this, we are able to offer Child Life Services, Art Therapy, Music Therapy and many more support services to our families.

Story by: Jessica Koscher

Story date: 06/2021