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The Parents’ Room: Healing Magic

BY Jeremy Shatan

Alex - Picture
Alex is three years old and just celebrated her last day of chemotherapy, ending 25 months of treatment. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at 14 months. We were impressed to learn that Alex’s mother, Lucy, was inspired by our Arts in Medicine Program to help childhood cancer patients back in her home country of Nicaragua.  Here’s what Lucy had to say about some of their experiences at Columbia University Medical Center.

“I am deeply grateful that Alex was able to get treated at such an unbelievable facility like Columbia. We know how lucky we are because not only do you have incredible doctors but also the most amazing and caring staff!

As strange as it sounds, Alex loves going to the hospital. She loves the nurses and loved painting with Nitza [in the Arts in Medicine Program] and creating little pieces of magic with her. I call Alex’s works little pieces of healing magic – because it allowed her to forget why we were there and get lost in her creativity.

It was such a great way for Alex to pass the time while we waited for blood counts and chemo. The Arts in Medicine program was not only a gift to Alex but also to me as a parent because I knew Alex could now associate the hospital with something fun and creative.  

I have created a foundation called CONANCA to help children fighting cancer in Nicaragua. Of course we plan to help with medical expenses, but one of our main projects is to replicate what Nitza does in our own way at the hospital in Nicaragua.

I also have a personal blog for Alex called – take a look if you have time!

I am happy to help Hope & Heroes in any little way I can. I know that I can never repay what you guys have done for our family. You restored our faith when we thought our world was crumbling around us when we first got the diagnosis. Then everyone there made the journey possible and ultimately saved Alex’s life.”

 If you would like to learn more about the Arts in Medicine Program, and other clinical programs supported by Hope & Heroes, or if you would like to relate your own family’s experience at Columbia University Medical Center, feel free to contact us.

 The Parents’ Room is a regular Hope & Heroes guest blog by parents of patients and survivors treated at Columbia. It is intended as an inspirational resource for parents everywhere. It originated in the experience of Myrna and Lou Binder, parents of cancer survivor Jeffrey Binder. Read Myrna’s original post here.


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