I just had the most incredible experience ~ but first, a little background. Remember when I was invited by Brizo for an all expenses paid trip to New York? This has affectionately become known as The Blogger 19 because Brizo invited 19 bloggers twice a year for several years to attend a Jason Wu fashion show, of which they are sponsors, cooking at Sur la Table, and to learn more about their fashion forward line of bath and kitchen fixtures (check out the post here). Well, a little reunion was in order. About eighty bloggers from across the country and Canada got together in Memphis for another life altering experience.
We were welcomed like royalty to St Jude Children's Hospital for the day, and Brizo literally greeted us with hoots, hollers, and cheers as the bus rolled up. We heard about the amazing cutting edge work the people at St Jude Children's Hospital are doing and the lengths with which they will go for the families that pass thru their doors; but knowing something and experiencing it are two very different things.
It literally costs 1.8 million dollars a day to run this hospital. The average donation is just over $30.00, but nobody pays for their care at St. Jude. Nobody! You do the math. Fundraising efforts are high on the list of priorities with events like The Dream Home Giveaway for which Brizo is a national sponsor. Danny Thomas started this hospital in 1962, its mission being to help find cures for childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. The sickest of the sick come here after they and their families have exhausted all other resources.
I thought it was going to be a day filled with heavy hearts, but it was the opposite. St. Jude is a happy, hopeful, colorful place. The hospital's focus on integrating art into the environment is obvious the minute you walk thru the door. Murals represent the look of the in-patients kids, some without hair, some missing limbs. It's a way for children to identify with those around them and feel a part of something bigger than themselves.
The impact of color and design has a huge influence on a person's health and well being. The bright colors and light make you feel energized and engaged. Patient and parent input is taken very seriously. No idea goes undiscussed. Its patient focused design is completely innovative. The in house design team considers everything when building or remolding, which it does constantly.
You see engagement by patient and staff at every turn. The team at St Jude rotate the art work of the kids on long gallery walls, wear silly costumes, have happy rituals like the NO MO CHEMO parties, all in an effort to "create moments."
One of the highlights of the day was interacting with the kids. We helped them design the interiors of a giant dollhouse, painted tiles, colored pictures, and generally had a ball. The power of a smile goes a long way!
Because the hospital was colorful and happy, I really walked away with a sense of hopefulness, not helplessness. The staff, volunteers, celebrities, sponsors, and donors help lift St Jude up. No family, no need, no wish goes unfulfilled if it can be helped!
Behind the pavilion rest Danny and Rosemarie Thomas, in a private contemplation garden. He really left a living legacy, as in all the children who have gone on to live healthy lives. That's a beautiful thing!
*This was an all expense paid trip by Brizo