The “Power of Play.”  That’s an important part of healing for children who are stuck in the hospital.  Today, I met a 12 year old who is a very brave survivor of Lymphoblastic Lymphoma.  When he was diagnosed at 9, he was stage 3.  His name is CJ George.  Yesterday, he had the port used for chemotheraphy removed from his chest.  He is in remission.

Today, he and his family took me on a tour of the new Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood.  It is about to open as a new, stand alone hospital.  It was really cool seeing the hospital with him and his reaction to what he was seeing.  The idea behind the hospital is “the power of play.”  There are play areas around the hospital, rooms for teens to hang out and places for families to spend some time together.  Pediatric Oncologist Dr. Anne Schaeffer put it best, “At the end of the day, kids just want to be kids, so it’s really important that we don’t take that away from them.”   

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It was great to see CJ’s eyes light up when we went into the CT Scan room.  That big, scary CT scanner is decorated like an amusement park ride.  It looked like a pirate ship.  There’s another one that looks like a scene out of the jungle.  CJ said when he was treated, the machine scared him, but when he saw this one, he said, “it looks like fun!”  I think that may not be a bad idea for adults too!  I know I would be scared.

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I can’t imagine the fear a child must feel when they’re facing a life threatening illness.  CJ told me something he liked about the new hospital is that there is a wing dedicated soley to kids with cancer.  He and his mom both said what they like about that is they are able to hang out, talk, ask questions to other kids and families who are going through the same thing.   

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