When the Children's Art Project began funding patient programs in the
early 1970s, the focus was on providing cheer and comfort for young
patients, most of whom did not survive their battles with cancer. With
improved treatments, more young patients survive their disease. Programs
funded by the project have evolved to include college scholarships,
educational programs and other opportunities that prepare pediatric
patients for successful lives after cancer.
Since 1973, CAP has contributed more than $30 million to fund
patient-focused programs at MD Anderson.
Adolescent Life Program
Child Life Program is an integral component of the team approach to
treating a pediatric patient. Child Life specialists work with children
in both the inpatient and outpatient areas and also with many
adolescents who are being treated in adult services at MD Anderson.
These specialists use therapeutic interventions such as play, age
appropriate education and activities; offer emotional support during
procedures; and offer medical play and preparation for medical
procedures and surgeries. They plan and implement daily activities and
recreational programs to normalize a child's stay in the hospital and in
the outpatient clinic. Activities include parties, field trips, special
teen activities, movie night, BINGO and Teen Grill.
With Children's Art Project funds, young patient educational needs are
met in a variety of ways. Hospital classrooms equipped with educational
materials and computers enable pediatric and adolescent patients to
continue their schoolwork during treatment. Program helps patients
maintain their educational skills during the summer through tutoring and
educational field trips. Through the School Liaison Program, an
Educational Coordinator visits patients' home schools to educate
teachers and fellow classmates about the patients' experience, ensuring
a smooth and positive reintegration into the classroom. The English as a
Second Language Program provides books, audiocassettes, flash cards and
other materials to non-English-speaking patients. Children's Art Project
funds also provide for the art classes, a "Writers in the Schools"
program, a music therapy program and special educational field trips.
College and Graduate School Scholarships
1984, current and former patients pursuing their educational dreams have
received scholarship funds for college and graduate school. With
aspirations of becoming accountants, physicians, artists, teachers and
more, many young patients have earned degrees with Children's Art
Project funds. For the families of these students, the cancer experience
takes a devastating financial toll, and these scholarships are vital to
help finance their children's college educations.
Camp Star Trails
of young cancer patients and their siblings have attended Camp Star
Trails, an overnight summer camp established in 1983 in keeping with MD
Anderson's emphasis on normal childhood experiences and development.
Since cancer touches the lives of each family member, the pediatrics
staff believes it is important that siblings have the opportunity to
share in all aspects of patient treatment and recreation. Campers ages
5-12 enjoy fishing, canoeing, swimming, arts and crafts, softball,
basketball, cooking, soccer, archery, nature study, drama and science
experiments. Each year, some 150 youngsters from across the country
attend the one-week session of Camp Star Trails, held at Camp For All in
Washington County, Texas.
Camp A.O.K. (Anderson's Older Kids) was established in 1988 for
adolescent patients and their siblings. This overnight summer camp
offers swimming, fishing, tennis, horseback riding, golf, photography,
arts and crafts, basketball, softball and volleyball — all uniquely
targeted to fit the needs of teenagers coping with cancer. Each summer,
some 50 campers ages 13-18 attend Camp A.O.K., held at Camp Fred A.
Lennon near Magnolia, Texas.
Arts in Medicine Program
With a goal of making children feel better, the program involves
patients in fun collaborative projects designed to reduce anxiety and
pain, build positive connections, elevate self-esteem and create a
positive association with the hospital.
Adolescent and Young Adult Program
Inspired by the growing number of adolescent patients and survivors,
the program addresses challenges unique to this demographic. By
encouraging and developing confidence, life skills, and friendships,
patients are better equipped to deal with complex issues on the road to
The organization provides emotional, educational and practical support
to children with cancer and their families. Some of their services
include parking expense assistance, meal vouchers, gas and drug store
gift cards, and an annual Fall Family Festival.
Magicians, musicians and other special guests have entertained pediatric
patients and their family members since 1978. Bringing joy and laughter
to the children, these parties have become an MD Anderson tradition and
a welcome diversion from clinic appointments and hospital stays.
Other Patient-Focused Programs
Funds from Children’s Art Project sales support a variety of other
programs, from pediatric parent dinners, to rehabilitation guides, to
pediatric bereavement programs.