A picture may say a thousand words, but for patients at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, it provides a voice that may otherwise go unheard.

The Art Therapy Program at the Georgetown University Hospital facility, known popularly as “Tracy’s Kids,” was founded in 1991 by Tracy Councill, art therapist at the center. Through paint, clay or crayons, the program allows children to express fears, anxieties, and pains that they may have difficulty expressing in other ways. “Tracy’s Kid’s” boasts art therapy as beneficial to reduce fatigue, depression and stress, and to boost the patient’s immune system. As part of the program, patients reflect on their treatment, ask questions, and express feelings. Group projects are often used to benefit the patients as well.

“We help patients bring their creative power to the work of getting well,” Councill said.

Six years later, Matt Gerson, a Washington attorney who underwent art therapy as a child, began fundraising for the program. Today, over five corporations and institutions are involved in sponsoring “Tracy’s Kids.” Additionally, the program has expanded to include additional staff members at the Lombardi Center: Jenny Padden and Jessie Masterson.

“Tracy’s Kids” has joined forces with the Middle East Cancer Consortium to showcase this healing treatment. “Tracy’s Kid’s International Art Exchange” features the artwork of patients in Israel, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt.

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