The Arts in Medicine Program has one primary goal – to help young patients feel better. The program connects pediatric patients and their families to visual arts, music, theater, and dance through community collaborations, large-scale projects, and one-on-one experiences. These activities give patients a sense of control and purpose, reduce anxiety and pain, make patients more comfortable in the hospital environment, and build community among patients and families.
Thanks to the support of generous donors and valued partnerships with local businesses and organizations, MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital offers seven camps each summer for patients and their families. Our camps offer attendees a sense of normalcy, both during and after cancer treatment. They also provide a great opportunity for attendees to join of a community of other children and families who truly understand how they feel.
The camps are free and transportation is provided to all offsite camps, with the exception of Camp H-Town. View our camps flyer to learn more and to see our 2019 camp dates. For more information about our camps, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For most children and adolescents, summers involve family vacations, hanging out at the beach and enjoying a variety of activities. But for young cancer patients, fun adventures like summer camp are often put on hold.
At MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital, cancer patients have an opportunity to experience camp, thanks to generous donors and partnerships with organizations. The support helps MD Anderson provide a camp experience for cancer patients at the hospital and offer weeklong adventures at area campsites.
Camp season kicks off in May with Family Camp Night at the hospital. Patients and families enjoy food, games, activities and an overview of camps offered.
"We're fortunate to have the support of various community members and organizations that help us provide the camp experience at no cost to our cancer patients and families," says Tomika Gamble, program manager for MD Anderson camps and special events.
Camp for All 2U
Camp for All brings the camp experience to MD Anderson twice a year with Camp for All 2U. The weeklong onsite camp is held during spring break and the summer. Parents drop off cancer patients and siblings at the day camp to enjoy plenty of food, treats and indoor fun including archery, dance, campfires and a petting zoo. The kids take home a T-shirt, arts and crafts and toys, thanks to the generous donations of many. This year, Camp for All 2U closed with special treats from a 7-Eleven Slurpee truck.
Camp Star Trails
MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital has held Camp Star Trails at Camp for All's facility in Burton, Texas, for 35 years. The weeklong overnight camp engages cancer patients ages 6-15 in horseback riding, archery, arts and crafts, canoeing, cooking, fishing, team sports, swimming and up-close interactions with farm animals.
Mary Murray has volunteered at Camp Star Trails for 27 years. As lead camp counselor, she assists with overseeing all counselors.
"We make sure the campers have fun and are safe, and help them develop self-confidence and independence," says Murray, whose three daughters started as counselors-in training many years ago and continue the tradition. "I look forward to volunteering every year. It's one of the most rewarding experiences for me and my family."
This year, Camp Star Trails hosted 180 cancer patients and siblings along with a team of medical staff and volunteers to help support campers' needs. A small group of parents and patients 5 years and under attended Junior Camper Day, which gives a glimpse of what campers will experience when they are old enough to attend the weeklong camp.
Trese Green spent the day at camp with her 4-year-old son, Phall, who is being treated for rhabdomyosarcoma.
"Camp was a magical place for the kids. Although it rained most of the day, there were so many fun activities and games, the kids did not mind the weather. My son did not want to leave. He's looking forward to coming back and spending the week at camp."
Shandra Cisneros, a patient services coordinator in MD Anderson's Child and Adolescent Pediatric Outpatient Clinic, volunteered at Camp Star Trails for the first time this year.
"It changed my life to see patients in a different environment," says Cisneros. "My two sons also volunteered and they will never be the same."
Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance is made up of parent consultants who have or had a child with cancer. They can help with day-to-day issues, like parking passes and grocery store gift cards. Candlelighters also holds a weekly parent support group, every Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Ronald McDonald Family Waiting Room. The group also offers academic scholarships to pediatric cancer patients and survivors. For more information, contact our parent consultants, Jaynie Hutchinson and Roseanna Daly, at 713-792-4891.
A cancer diagnosis doesn’t mean young people should give up on their goals. The Children’s Cancer Hospital offers Career and Vocational Counseling to help patients get ready for college, enter the workforce and even advance their careers. Young people can get help applying to college and vocational programs; preparing for the GED or college entrance exams; exploring different career paths; and applying for financial aid. We can also help college students get a leave of absence or reduced academic schedule, or obtain special accommodations. For young adults, we can help with job searches, resume writing, and interviewing skills. Contact the career and vocational counseling program at 713-792-6767.
The Child, Adolescent and Young Adult Life Program is here to help young people and their families. Our team of specialists and assistants understands the impact of cancer, painful procedures and hospital stays. Their job is to reduce this impact and help improve coping skills. They do this by building relationships with patients and families; providing them with education and support; hosting events and activities; and giving them opportunities to express themselves.
Child Adolescent and Young Adult Life specialists usually meet patients during one of their first trips to the hospital. From there, they play a key role in each patient’s care, including:
- Introducing patients to the hospital in a friendly, non-threatening way
- Educating them about their disease, diagnosis and treatment
- Teaching patients about procedures in age-appropriate ways
- Showing children, adolescents and young adults way to cope during medical procedures
- Providing emotional support to patients and families during these procedures
- Visiting patients at the bedside to provide activities and the opportunity to talk
- Offering young people a sense of control by giving them chance to make choices whenever possible
- Providing the opportunity to play and socialize by staffing our inpatient and outpatient playrooms
- Coordinating special events and activities for patients, siblings and parents
- Helping parents understand how cancer is impacting their child’s development and well-being
- Helping siblings and other family members understand a child’s illness
The Children’s Art Project is a special creative arts program where patients' designs are incorporated into greeting cards, jewelry and other products. Proceeds from product sales benefit patient-focused programs at the Children's Cancer Hospital and MD Anderson.
Cancer can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be.
The myCancerConnection program puts caregivers and patients in touch with someone who’s been in the same position. Your myCancerConnection partner can help with practical advice or just be there to listen and understand what you're going through. The program will even try to match you with a parent whose child shares your child’s diagnosis.
The Pediatric Education and Creative Arts Program is here to meet the educational needs of our patients. Our certified, master-level teachers work with young people from pre-k to 12th grade. We have an accredited on-site private school, tutoring for students who remain enrolled in their regular school, and support for students who are ready to return to their class. We also offer tutoring for AP courses, the PSAT and English as a Second Language for both patients and families. Patients can also participate in painting, pottery, yoga, music therapy and more. We take students on field trips to local attractions and host special presentations from the Houston Zoo, the Museum of Natural Science and others. Contact the school at:
- Phone: 713-745-5059
- Fax: 713-792-0608
- Email: email@example.com