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September 24, 2003

Debbie Neufert
Media Relations, LHSC
519-685-8500, ext. 74772

Art Therapy program at Children's Hospital of Western Ontario celebrates 25th anniversary

(LONDON, Ontario) For the past 25 years, the Art Therapy Program at the Children's Hospital of Western Ontario (CHWO) at London Health Sciences Centre has been using art therapy to provide psychosocial support to pediatric cancer patients.

"The Art Therapy Program is therapeutic and helps pediatric patients express themselves through art, which contributes to their well-being," says Teresa Michienzi, an art therapist at CHWO since 1991. Michienzi adds, "We build relationships with the children and provide emotional support as well. The art therapy makes their time in the hospital tolerable, lowers the tension they feel when they are receiving treatment, and gives them a sense of control in the midst of a situation they can't control."

The Art Therapy Program, which helps both pediatric outpatients and inpatients, has three part-time art therapists, and is fully funded by the Children's Health Foundation.

"The generous donations of the people of this community and Southwestern Ontario make it possible for Children's Health Foundation to fund 100 per cent of the valuable work of the Art Therapy Program and the difference it continues to make in the lives of our patients," says Deb Comuzzi, chief executive officer of Children's Health Foundation.

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the CHWO's Art Therapy Program, patients, families and staff will be creating a community painting this week that will remain in the Pediatric Medical Day Unit. Staff will be painting in the border and patients and families will paint in the centre as a visual metaphor for family centred care, which is the philosophy of the hospital's approach to patient care.

The media is invited to photograph the community painting, view the art displays from the program, as well as interview a patient, parent and art therapist involved with the Art Therapy Program.


Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Location: Children's Hospital of Western Ontario
Victoria Campus, London Health Sciences Centre
Pediatric Medical Day Unit, Tower 2, Level 4

(NOTE: Media can only enter through the patient/visitor entrance located at the Admitting entrance off Commissioners Road, turn left, then right down the corridor until you reach the first "intersection" where you will find the Tower 2 elevators on the right. Take the Tower 2 elevators to Level 4).