Fourteen-year-old Christian Ward loves to paint. Like most kids, he enjoyed coloring when he was younger, but after he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2017, art began to serve another purpose. “It relieves stress for me,” says Christian, who was treated for a nongerminomatous germ cell tumor at Children’s of Alabama.
Christian is one of several patients whose artwork is featured in this year’s HeART of Children’s holiday greeting card collection, an annual holiday card initiative showcasing designs created by Children’s of Alabama patients. Proceeds from card sales directly benefit the hospital. “The HeART of Children’s is a fun program that does great things for our patients at Children’s of Alabama,” says Angela Scott, coordinator of the program.
The card program began at Children’s of Alabama in 2010 and has grown from a holiday card promotion to a year-round greeting card program. Last year it was re-branded to become The HeART of Children’s. Since the card program began, it’s raised more than $50,000 for Children’s of Alabama. “One aspect of the card program that I really like is that donors can designate the department or unit at Children’s that will receive the donation from their card purchase,” Angela says.
You could, for example, decide that you want the proceeds from your purchase to support the Child Life program. “Child Life is vital to our patient experience,” Angela explains. “Our Child Life specialists work with patients to explain procedures in terms children can understand, provide activities to distract patients from procedures and give patients a much-needed break and a small amount of normalcy while in the hospital.”
Child Life specialists also work with patients to create some of the art featured in the HeART of Children’s card collection. “Pre-COVID, we had patient painting parties at North Alabama Children’s Specialists, the Children’s of Alabama specialty clinic in Huntsville, as well as painting parties for patients in the performance area in the hospital lobby,” Angela says.
Kara Kluka is looking forward to seeing her 3-year-old daughter Evelyn’s art featured in the HeART of Children’s collection. “We are all very excited and so proud of her,” Kara says.
Evelyn has been drawing since she was big enough to hold a crayon. “She loves her Magna Doodle, chalk, bath paint, painting and coloring,” Kara says of Evelyn. “It makes her happy.”
At just 5 weeks old, Evelyn was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy and began treatment at Children’s of Alabama. Her diagnosis, however, has not held her back. When she’s not drawing, painting, or coloring, she likes to jump on her trampoline, ride her bike, and play with her animals.
“My favorite part of The HeART of Children’s is working with the people who make this fundraiser a reality every year,” Angela says. And that includes working with donors to help them purchase their cards. “It is a really fun experience to help donors select their holiday cards and get to be a small part of their holiday celebration,” she adds.
Most of all, Angela enjoys working with the young artists behind the designs. “I love working with the patients,” she says, “and helping them create their masterpieces.”
If you’re looking for holiday cards this season that will make an impression and make a difference, the HeART of Children’s card collection has what you need. The program is sponsored by Solutions Infusions Therapy; the cards are printed by Flex Digital and sold through Crinkled Nose. Pricing starts at less than $1 per card. Crinkled Nose provides several customization options, too. You can personalize the greeting inside the card, add a company logo, and more. To get started, click HERE. And to learn more, watch this video.
This article is sponsored and all photography is provided by Children’s of Alabama.