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
Bringing the healing power of the arts to children who are in the hospital undergoing treatment for cancer or life-threatening illness.