We are happy to join in the choir to sing praises to Elia, Happy and Healthy Now!
"Elia struggled most of her life with repeated unexplained vomiting episodes that started when she was 3 years old. When she was five she was diagnosed with Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome. Episodes would happen every 8 weeks, give or take a couple of weeks at times, and would always end up with a trip to the ER or hospital admission due to its severity. She would throw up every 1/2 hour to every hour for 48 hours or longer, with intense stomach pains, and dehydration. Other than vomiting and stomach pains during each episode, she had no other symptoms, and her episodes would come without a warning and would stop as suddenly as it started.
In July of 2015, she went through what we thought was the worst episode yet. She was admitted to the hospital and by the 5th day test results showed that she was suffering from pancreatitis and complete intestinal blockage caused by an unknown cystic mass next to the her duodenum (first part of the small intestine). It was during surgery one week later that they discovered that she had a duodenal duplication cyst, a very rare congenital anomaly. They were able to partially excise the cyst, avoiding a more complicated surgery. It would take another two weeks for her to heal. The arts and crafts box [Bedside Adventure Kit] that Discovery Arts left for her kept her busy and helped take her mind off any pain or discomfort she was having. She also received a beautiful yellow fairy dress, wand, and wings when Discovery Arts visited the play room. While she could not wear the dress yet, she happily donned her wings every time she took a walk around the hospital floor. I am happy to say that she only had two more vomiting episodes after the surgery and is doing very well despite the unexplained bile duct dilatation she is now being monitored for."
~ Elia's Mom Fides
Read more to learn how the minimally invasive surgery performed at the Pediatric Surgical Center at Miller Children’s Hospital helped Elia recover. She is now back to being a child and doing the things she loves like singing in her church choir.
To donate new costumes for our Annual Costume Drive
buy one and send it to us,
send us a gift card,
or make a donation.
We are in need of costumes all year long, please consider supporting us by becoming a Costume Designer Partner. Your Partnership will provide 1,000 costumes for children in our participating hospitals.
We have known these beautiful ladies, Mary Borkett and Marilyn Clements, for the past 5 years. My granddaughter has leukemia and has been a patient at Long Beach Memorial’s Miller’s Children’s Hospital, with stays of up to 21 days.
Costumes, tap shoes, hats, MUSIC, DANCE, CRAFTS! You have no idea how much JOY this brings to children in the hospital fighting cancer! The entire floor lights up with laughter and loud music! The parents, the nurses, the KIDS are dancing in their beds if they can’t actually get out of bed to join the fun!
Mary and Marilyn have a kind and gentle way of bringing a carefree happiness to each child on the floor! The kids can choose a costume and KEEP IT! They can put on all sorts of dress up stuff and just let themselves be free of the sadness and fear for a couple of hours.
Discovery Arts is fantastic idea that, in my opinion, every single hospital should have on their Child Life Roster! The mental welfare of your young cancer patients absolutely deserves to experience Mary and Marilyn’s loving personalities and gifts of joy. You’re doing your hospital a disservice if you don’t have Discovery Arts making these beautiful children happy, even if it’s only once a week!
We know this from experience. My granddaughter is currently a patient at UCLA for a bone marrow transplant and when we found out that our beloved Mary and Marilyn were coming by, none of us could contain our happiness! It made the day for my granddaughter!
You owe YOURSELF the experience! It’s pure heaven to let loose and sing and dance shamelessly surrounded with children dragging their “poles” and smiling from ear to ear!
With love and affection for Mary and Marilyn,
Gloria COOKIE Warren
May 26, 2006
Cookie, we love you!! We have so many wonderful memories with Cookie and Grandma Cookie. It warms our hearts that she has survived and thrived, after all that she went through.
What a blessing it is for us to be able to be there for such a beauty young girl ... We are so proud of her and love her so much!
Executive Director, Discovery Arts
Here is a beautiful story that Alyssa's mom wrote for us. What a special girl she is. Alyssa, is now 8 years old.
Alyssa was just three when she was diagnosed with leukemia. A year into her treatment she developed a virus in her brain. She became very sick and was in a drug induced coma for 5 days. When she finally woke up nobody knew what to expect. Alyssa could not speak, she could not walk and days later it was confirmed that she had permanently lost her sight. Alyssa had to relearn how to talk and walk but her right side remained weak and she has very limited use of her right hand. About three month's after Alyssa was released from the hospital she started to have seizures. On a good day she would have three or four seizure, on a bad day she could have up to thirty in an hour. About a year and a half after Alyssa lost her sight she finished her chemo treatment and was declared in remission. Normally this would be a big celebration but due to her uncontrollable seizures we wondered how long her little body could take it. This is when we sought out a surgical cure to Alyssa's seizures. Doctors at UCLA recommended removing Alyssa's left hemisphere of her brain. While we never had heard of such a thing we knew we had to take a chance to find a cure for her. In November of 2010 Alyssa underwent massive brain surgery, her doctors ended up removing two thirds of her left hemisphere in hopes of keeping her communication skills intact.
Alyssa had another long recovery ahead of her. She had to learn to talk and walk again but this red head was determined to survive. Her last seizure was in May of 2011. The surgery has worked. We are now reducing her seizure meds and everyday I see pieces of the little girl that was taken away from me return. Alyssa can walk and talk, she can do simple math and is learning Braille. Alyssa also knows has a service dog named Flint, he helps her with mobility and various other things that he was trained for. Alyssa has an amazingly funny personality and even though her sight is gone forever she see's more clearly than anyone I know.
During Alyssa's many stays at the hospital her only entertainment was the playroom. She especially looked forward to Thursday's as that was Discovery Arts day. She couldn't wait to go down to pick out a costume or to do a special craft. The days when she was too sick leave her room she would always ask "do I still get my costume?" but the women would already know that she was sick and they would have picked one out for her. We have dozen's of pictures of Alyssa dressed up in different costumes and her smile was never bigger than on the days she was a princess or a fairy. Hospital life is hard on everyone, especially the patient, but Discovery Arts offer a little escape from reality!
~ Alyssa's Mom
We are Discovery Arts, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that brings music, art, dance and drama to children with cancer and life threatening illnesses while they are in the hospital receiving treatment. We currently have ongoing programs at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), Miller Children’s Hospital, Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center at Millers, CHOC at Mission, Fountain Valley Regional Medical Center, CA and Mercy Children's Hospital, Springfield, MO.
We are seeking donations of boys and girls costumes and dress up accessories. At every “Arts Adventure” children select a costume to keep, so we are in constant need of replenishment. Princesses, Super-hero's, and Character costumes are always popular, yet anything we can use to create a “Dress-Up” moment is appreciated! Our children range from infants to eighteen years of age, all sizes and styles are needed.
For our children “Dressing-Up” gives them the opportunity to transcend the horrible circumstance of critical illness and for the moment just be a child. For these children, normalcy is their greatest wish. During our time together they have the freedom to be a ballerina, a muscle man, or super star! They are no longer sick, and no longer feel like they are in the hospital.
To donate new costumes; buy one and send it to us, send us a gift card or make a donation and we will make sure they have them!!
Thank you for helping our sick kids be kids.
With Heartfelt Thanks,
All of our programs and services are offered free of charge to the hospitals, patients and their families. We rely completely on the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations to fund our programs and allow us to reach more children.
Bringing the healing power of the arts to children who are in the hospital undergoing treatment for cancer or life-threatening illness.