Three-year-old Wes loves dinosaurs and racing toy cars. Art therapy helped him cope while he was in the hospital for a month after a leukemia diagnosis. “Being a kid with cancer can be heavy,” Wes’ mom Kate says. “Art therapy gave Wes a time when he didn’t have to think about it.”

Art therapists visited Wes’ room to paint, color and mold clay during his initial treatment when the art room closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Taping his art on the wall and showing it to others brought him a lot of joy,” says Kate.

When the art room reopened in summer 2021, Wes loved visiting the bright, cheerful room. He learned new letters with the magnetic alphabet, played with sensory toys and enjoyed the freedom of creativity. “That room makes magic,” Kate says. “Being in this welcoming, fun space with so much to do helped Wes forget he was attached to an IV. The art therapists helped him enjoy wonderful, unstructured chaos, even if it involved paint so watery that it made holes in the paper.”

Wes is past his long inpatient stay, but still returns to the hospital for checkups and week-long chemotherapy treatments. He always asks to visit the colorful room. “Art therapy,” Kate says, “makes coming to the hospital a positive.”

A young patient at Children's National Hospital.

Make a Difference

Your charitable donation changes children’s lives. Support exceptional health care and discoveries that offer hope, healing and brighter futures.

A young patient at Children's National Hospital.