A CROWNING MOMENT: Pediatric patient Noelli Castenada walks down the red carpet during her crowning ceremony at MGHfC.
The red carpets rolled out at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) Cancer Center Aug. 20 during "The Royal Celebration," an afternoon of fun, royalty-themed activities for pediatric cancer patients. MGHfC child life specialist Heather Peach, MS, CCLS, and clinical social worker Elyse Levin-Russman, LICSW, led the festivities with the help of 14-year-old Christina DelRosso, a cancer survivor and the winner of the 2010 National American Miss Massachusetts Junior Teen competition.
Activities at the event included crafts, face painting, manicures and make up sessions. The celebration's highlight was the "knighting" of each participating boy and the "crowning" of each participating girl. MGHfC staff and the patients' family members lined up for the ceremony as each child received a sword or crown from DelRosso.
At the end of the event, the children enjoyed cupcakes while DelRosso distributed toys and presented a $3,000 check to the MGHfC Pediatric Oncology Fund for Families, which provides emergency assistance to families experiencing financial difficulties during their child's treatment. The gift was presented on behalf of a foundation established in honor of DelRosso's late uncle, Daniel Ford, who was treated at the MGH Cancer Center. He died in April 2009 after a year-and-a-half battle with cancer.
"It was so nice to take a break from the everyday busy life we all have and see the true joy in our kids' eyes while being queen and knight for a day," says Constance Pineault, mother of pediatric patient Charlotte. "Interacting with Christina, a beautiful 14-year-old girl and a cancer survivor herself, inspired a lot of the kids and parents."
Adds Jennifer O'Brien, mother of patient Hannah, "Having a daughter who has had a tough battle with a brain tumor, there have been some dark days in the hospital. An event like this just makes you feel good and brings a smile not only to my daughter's face, but also to mine."