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View before, during and after photos of the mural's installation.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Howard Weinstein, MD, chief of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, and founder and captain of the Mass General Marathon Team admires the mural.
Little blue footprints cross the starting line in Hopkinton, or so it seems upon entering the newly unveiled Mass General Marathon Team gallery in the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Unit. The hallway mural, a physical reflection of the joy, inspiration, and hope that defines the Mass General Marathon Team, includes a montage of photos, quotes, news clippings and art capturing the team’s legacy.
“The Boston Marathon has really become part of the fabric of our clinic, and this mural showcases the spirit of the marathon,” says Howard Weinstein, MD, chief of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, and founder and captain of the Mass General Marathon Team. “It’s a great way to physically and emotionally bring patients and families into the experience.”
The vision for the wall was inspired by Dr. Weinstein, who has run 23 Boston Marathons to fight pediatric cancer. Last winter, he met with MGHfC Child Life Specialists Heather Peach, MS, CCLS, and Caroline Armington, MS, CCLS, to brainstorm how to showcase the marathon’s importance in the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Unit and tell the story of the marathon team’s history. The group met with Bruce Jones, a freelance designer who creates wall murals for Mass General, and together they sifted through volumes of material to create themes for the marathon story, including Mile 20, the pasta dinner, quotes from runners, and a tribute to the partnership with John Hancock Financial Services. With the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in mind, the group also acknowledged and honored the team’s experience with a small photo and quote on one of the walls. The result is a hallway of memories that patients, families and staff alike have responded to in awe.
“We wanted to showcase photos of runners and patient partners on the wall that seemed to reach out and grab people,” Jones says. “When we unveiled the wall, one patient’s mother walked toward the hallway with her arm outstretched and touched a photograph. It was almost like it pulled her to the wall, which is exactly what we were hoping for.”
The pediatric patients on the unit have also been pulled to the wall, and have been running their own races from the start to finish lines on the floors of the hallway, says Heather Peach. A testament to the joy and inspiration of the team, the mural has created a sense of community in the unit, says Peach, especially because the patients can identify with the kids in the photos.
“Everyone who walks through here has heard about the Marathon Team, but we never had a way to showcase it,” Peach says. “Now we have a tangible way to create that connection.”
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