Donor Stories

Donor Generosity Brings Music to Children’s Hospital

Doris Roxabel Evans donation to Children's Health FoundationA significant gift from Donna Bushell, matched by the Estate of Dorothy Palmer, is helping to make it possible for Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre to introduce a Music Therapy Program for its patients. Additional support from the Dorothy Palmer Estate will also enable Children’s to purchase a Synchronized intermittent Positive Airway Pressure (SiPAP) Machine for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. These non-invasive ventilators help Children's most fragile patients to breathe without needing to insert a tube into their delicate lungs, protecting them from inadvertent damage.

Donna Bushell chose to make her gift in honour of her sister, Doris Roxabel Evans, A.W.C.M., A.R.C.T. During her life, Doris was not only an avid musician, but she leveraged her passion and talents to share her love of music with young people throughout her community. Doris was an active member of numerous associations dedicated to enhancing musical culture. She was a respected choir leader, organist and musical director at several churches in Aylmer and St. Thomas. Her talents were well known within and beyond her community, and students came to her for lessons from St. Thomas, Aylmer, Port Stanley, and the surrounding areas. Dorothy Palmer shared Doris’ love of music and the two women became friends when Dorothy sang in Doris' choir at St. Paul's United Church in Aylmer.

Friends and family describe Doris as a kind-hearted, selfless and loving person. We believe that Doris would be pleased to know that, through Donna’s tribute, her love of music and her desire to help others will continue to brighten children’s lives across London and the region.

Hospitalization can have profound effects on a child. Not only are these young people separated from their loved ones, but they also must face a variety of stressful and, at times, painful medical treatments. Music is a unique therapeutic tool. For children in hospital, music can help them express their feelings, work through traumatic experiences, develop self-esteem, and manage stress and anxiety. The staff at Children’s is very excited to launch this important program.

Children’s Health Foundation and the children and families who will benefit from Music Therapy are so grateful to Donna Bushell for choosing to honour her sister’s wonderful legacy with this fitting tribute. We also extend our sincere appreciation to the Dorothy Palmer Estate for contributing so significantly to the emotional and physical wellbeing of the children in our region.

Painting Darker Days with Brighter Shades

Art Therapy at Children's Hospital, LHSCOur donors are helping to save and improve kids' lives by supporting important programs and services - from health care to rehabilitation to research at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre, Thames Valley Children’s Centre and Children’s Health Research Institute. Here is an example of how our donors are helping save and improve kids' lives.

For over 30 years, Art Therapy has been an integral part of the psychosocial support provided for patients at Children’s Hospital.  A generous grant of $15,000 from Westminster College Foundation is making it possible for Children’s to expand the program to include Cystic Fibrosis patients and children in the Day Treatment Program in Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

Children are typically diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) before the age of three, and because there is no cure for this disorder, they face a lifetime of challenges. Kids with CF are frequently in the hospital for long periods of time, experience frequent infections and digestive problems, and unfortunately have a shortened lifespan. Their ability to enjoy a full life can often be limited by the severity of their symptoms.  

"Children with Cystic Fibrosis require a holistic approach to disease management. We have seen the positive impact of interventions that allow kids to be kids and that reinforce the message that children are not their illness. Children with CF are often in isolation and Art Therapy would provide an outlet for their feelings related to their illness." - Nurse on CF Team, Children’s Hospital, LHSC

Art Therapy has been offered for three years to patients with Eating Disorders (both Inpatients and Day Treatment) and has been very successful in helping patients to develop coping skills and to communicate emotions and thoughts that are difficult to express in words. Based on the success of the program, it has been determined that a second group of patients, all the other Day Treatment patients suffering from mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and post traumatic stress, would also benefit from access to a weekly art therapy session.  Day Treatment patients require more care than an outpatient but do not need to be fully hospitalized.  Art therapy will become an important component of their treatment.  Insights gained can be shared with other team members as a valuable new resource for treatment planning.

Children’s Health Foundation and Children’s Hospital extend sincere gratitude to Westminster College Foundation for helping more of our patients have access to new and alternative ways of sharing their emotions and experiences.

Celebrating TVCC Kids on stage!

As part of our Opportunities to Participate programming, Thames Valley Children’s Centre (TVCC) and Original Kids Theatre Company have been working together for over 15 years. This remarkable group of kids,now called the Spriet Family Players, includes performers from Original Kids as well as performers from TVCC who use speech generating devices to participate in theatre summer camps.

The week-long camps help young TVCC actors develop special friendships, skills and confidence as they participate in games, activities and rehearsals leading up to six live performances in August at the Spriet Family Theatre in the Covent Garden Market in London, Ontario.

“When Madison was born and I first learned about the severity of her disability, I was very sad about the things that I may never get to experience with her,” says Madison’s mom, Anita. “But when I watched her on stage for her final production, my heart exploded with joy. That opportunity opened my eyes to the fact that anything is possible.”

The camps are facilitated by youth volunteers at Original Kids and are supported by TVCC staff from the Augmentative Communication Service. The camps are offered to kids of all ages with two different sessions: one for younger kids who are learning how to use their devices; and another for children who are using their devices more independently. Both groups act alongside Original Kids in drama performances.

The result of this wonderful collaboration, which has evolved over the years, is truly a delight to see. Thanks to Andy and Helen Spriet, this program continues to help TVCC clients become stars and shine on stage.