Simply put, your gift to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation is a gift to the children of Michigan. You gift can do many things for children and families. Your gift can support research to develop some of the most sophisticated pediatric treatment techniques found anywhere in the world. Your gift can help to train healthcare staff in the best ways to care for children. You gift can support programs that teach children and families how to stay safe and healthy. Your gift can provide a toy, a game, a book, or an activity to alleviate the stress and anxiety of a hospital stay for patients and families. Your gift can help a family deal with emergency needs that result from having a critically ill child. Your gift can make a difference for a child.

Here are just a few examples of what we have been able to do with contributions to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation.

The Hicks Family

Helen Hicks and her husband had just adopted their son Nathanial when Helen learned that she was pregnant with their seventh child, Anthony. It was a difficult pregnancy, and shortly before Anthony’s birth the Hicks family discovered that their unborn son had severe heart problems.

Further tests indicated that Anthony had Down syndrome and would need cardiac surgery. Anthony was born three months prematurely and spent the first seven months of his life at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Anthony struggled for his life, fighting for every single breath until the day he was strong enough for open heart surgery.

The following six years found Anthony and his family on nearly every floor of Children’s Hospital of Michigan, waiting and praying for him to heal. They have endured more than five ambulance trips, at least 20 hospital stays and various pulmonary and cardiac procedures. Apart from their son’s boundless joy, Helen credits three things that have comforted her family during Anthony’s lengthy recovery process—coffee, bagels and bingo. “When the bingo began, the focus went from the sadness to the letters, from the hurt to the heart, from the pain to the gain,” Helen says.

Sometimes children and families grappling with serious health problems need playful diversions like bingo as much as they need medical treatment. This is among the many ways that Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation uses charitable gifts to help advance the health of children.

Annual Celebration of Life Event

Each year, in recognition of National Cancer Survivor’s Day, this life-affirming event is held to honor cancer survivors and their families. More than 1,400 affected children and their families attend this event to celebrate their accomplishments and milestones. The Celebration of Life Program at Children’s Hospital of Michigan is one of the largest Pediatric Cancer Survivor programs in the country.

This event provides a special opportunity for CHM oncology patients and families, whether they are still dealing with cancer or are long-term survivors, to meet each other for support, encouragement and fun. At the event, cancer survivors can share their journeys during a brief program, and current patients can draw hope from hearing their stories. Attending cancer survivors range in age from one year to 60 years of age. Event activities include food and entertainment, go karts, climbing wall, arcade game, mini golf, batting cages, a treasure hunt, and craft activities.

This vital program is provided to families at no cost, and is one way that the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation uses charitable gifts to provide support for children who are going through cancer treatment and their families.

The Healing Arts Program

Art has been recognized as a powerful tool to aid families and children through difficult circumstances. The mission of Children’s Hospital of Michigan’s Healing Arts Program is to create a total healing environment for patients and their families through the integration of art into the hospital environment and to use the creative arts as tool to build self-esteem, identity and belonging, and to connect people and celebrate life. In collaboration with the Detroit Institute of Arts and Pewabic Pottery’s education departments, the Artist-In-Residence program brings artists to the bedside, activity rooms and clinics, allowing patients and families to have the opportunity to experience various creative experiences during their hospital visit.

The Healing Arts Program provides outlets for creative expression for young patients. For children undergoing chemotherapy and other life-saving procedures, waiting for long hours in sterile hospital rooms can be a wearisome component of managing their disease. Positive, participatory art experiences not only give patients and families a chance to step outside their circumstances but also inspire hope and a faster recovery. Creating art can provide children with a sense of control during a time when they are anything but in control, and interaction with visiting artists can counter isolation.

The Healing Arts Program educates and engages young patients, by teaching them how to make art, exposing them new artistic techniques and helping them learn that making art can be a new way for self-expression. Most of the art projects offered through the program can be completed in a short time, resulting either in an item to be displayed in their patient room and then taken home, or a group project which can be displayed within the hospital.

Children are encouraged to choose any art forms with which they are comfortable or encouraged to try a new art form. Art forms include painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, fabric, journaling, folding origami shapes, making cards or scrapbooking. In these ways children can stretch their creative muscles and find an expressive outlet for their feelings. In addition to bringing the healing power of art to children, the art program also impacts the families of each patient in a profoundly positive way, by providing an opportunity for parents to participate and engage in a playful activity with their child.

All art programs are offered free of charge to Children’s Hospital of Michigan patients and families through generous donations to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation.