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Gina Roell

Sam's Fans partnership with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center consists of funding an art therapist one day a week for 8 hours. Our initial partnership was only 4 hours a week but thanks to continued support we were able to increment it! We hope to be able to bring in more support so that there can be even more much-needed art therapy at CCHMC.

Learn More About Our Partnership with CCHMC



Gina Roell, the art therapist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, joined us on Facebook live to talk about the work that she does, her opinions on art therapy, and to share stories from her work.

“I have a teenage patient at Cincinnati Children’s. He wanted to do art but he wasn’t sure so I thought about this computer program that you can use to design. He was interested in making a T-shirt. And so he showed his strength and how he’s gonna kick cancer’s butt by making his own T-shirt design using the Cricket. So that’s one thing that we used and a little bit of a story with it."

“Also with this Cricket this one kid wanted to make his own rock band T-shirt. He design his own. He was working with the music therapist and she had mentioned that he wanted to start this rock band, having a name and everything. So he decided to make his own rock band T-shirt. Just some fun things we are so appreciative of.”

I Can See More Patients Thanks to Sam’s Fans!

"There’s this little girl I met with this week. She had been in the hospital and this is why I’m so appreciative of the extra 8 hours supported by Sam's Fans. She said: 'Why haven’t I seen you before? We love art! Why haven’t I seen you'

I told her I was really glad I got to see her then. Now I get to be here longer so I get to see more kids. And oh gosh, her face lit up.

So I brought in some painting to her. This was my first session with her so just a get-to-know-you kind of session. Her parents were both in the room. She said she wanted to paint a monkey. So at first the dad was like asking me to paint it for her. But I took her step by step and she did it all by herself and oh my goodness, the look on her face, the pride that she felt in this painting that she created by herself and then the pride in the parents’ face.

I mean, it was the very first session. You could just feel the joy in the room. So we’re talking and educating them about art therapy and what I do and I’m looking forward to the next time I get to spend time with her. But as I’m leaving she is not just saying thank you, she is, you can read it in her eyes and her voice, and she must’ve said thank you, screamed thank you, fifteen times. You felt that thanks.

'Thank you for being here with me and bringing me this modality that helps me communicate and speak and experience joy.'

Did You Know Art Therapy Helps Sick Children Feel Good?

Art therapy is a means of communication. It gives the patient another method of expression when words are not readily available. In a medical setting, the patient feels a sense of control over the media chosen. This also feels like controlling a part of their treatment!

“In cancer patients, pain, weakness, fatigue, hair loss, permanent post-operative scars, possible side effects of treatments, and permanent bodily changes caused by treatment failures affect the character of the individual; and on the other hand, the fear of death may lead to emotional changes, and loss of self-confidence.” (2)

Art therapy helps the patient cope and strengthens their mental health when faced with these difficulties. It improves the quality of life reducing stress and anxiety. Artwork created within the art therapy framework should be considered a visual expression of their diagnosis. Art Therapy makes patients’ experiences visible. (3) Learn more here.

Example of an art therapy activity: Buddha Board

What do you do when a patient seems “stuck”? Or when a patient is focused on one part of their treatment, such as pain, or being away from the outside world? I have used our Buddha boards to assist these patients in making sense of these emotions. What is a Buddha board you may be thinking? A Buddha board is a flat surface that the patient can paint on using only water. As the surface dries, the image slowly disappears and then can be used again. The impermanence of this art form brings about many conversations including how pain can be temporary and what kind of feelings does the patient want to disappear. The Buddha board is also a meditative tool. Patients place their mark on the board and then watch the water drip down the board, leaving a trail as it slowly dries.

You can provide an hour of art therapy for $75! Click here to make a donation.