Kids and their families use art to say thanks
Patients, families and members of the MUSC Youth Patient Advisory Council gathered outside the construction site of the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion to paint the tops of picnic tables for construction workers of the new facility.
The picnic area provides a welcome respite for workers under the shade of trees, to cool off during the hot days of summer. Adjacent to the construction site, the area gives them a place to enjoy lunch or take a well-deserved work break.
Now when they take that break, they can enjoy tables that feature hand painted and caring messages from many who value what the new facility is bringing to South Carolina children and families.
Eva Allen, 12, is a rising seventh grader at C.E. Williams Middle School. She painted a table with a blue and white stripe motif. Eva, who lives with Type 1 diabetes, knows the Children’s Hospital well and serves on the MUSC Youth Patient Advisory Council.
Eva Allen, 12, paints with her grandmother, Ann F. Ford.
The council includes a mix of people from 12 to 17 years old who either have a chronic illness or have experienced extended care at the Children’s Hospital. Teenage siblings of MUSC pediatric patients are welcome to join, too. They serve as advisors, sharing opinions and perspectives about anything to do with the Children’s Hospital.
“I wanted to make an impact on the hospital, hoping to help others, and we are trying to make a noticeable difference,” said Eva. “It’s an awesome experience. Parents just see the outskirts and don’t understand what it’s like to live in the moment of a patient.”
Construction partners Robins & Morton, Cumming and Brownstone hosted the event to give workers a chance to connect with the purpose of the children's hospital.
The MUSC Youth Patient Advisory Council is already sharing input for the current and future hospitals. Since the group first met, it has:
Child Life Manager Betsy McMillan leads the council and calls it a wonderful addition."I've been overwhelmed with the energy of the group and what a difference their input makes for the hospital. They don't hold back,” McMillan said. "It's great having fresh, young ideas and seeing all the energy they have. Meetings always run long. They’re very honest about everything. And the staff has taken them really seriously."
Some staff members have sought advice from council members and gone to the group’s meetings. McMillan said they’re impressed by the fact that the council does more than offer offering ideas and suggestions. “The group shows up at events and supports fundraising events. I’m impressed by the group's dedication to the cause, whether it's showing up for the furniture fair or a country music special show featuring Darius Rucker.”
Council members have to be between 12 to 17 years old. Patients, former patients and their siblings are eligible. Email McMillan for details.