A Spectacular Canvas

You would never know to look at Aidan Chin that he’s overcome a life-threatening ordeal. Diagnosed with leukemia when he was 11 years old, Aidan underwent years of care including spending several months inside BC Children’s Hospital. Today he’s an active Grade 12 student at Templeton Secondary and a persuasive advocate for child health.

As the 2016 Champion Child – a key ambassador role for BC Children’s Hospital – Aidan found his voice through numerous public and media appearances. His experiences gave him a unique perspective about how the hospital environment affects wellness. Now his advice is informing a senior-level committee called the Children’s Healing Experience Project about the use of art and positive distraction in the new Teck Acute Care Centre that is scheduled for completion in fall 2017.

“To hear how the new hospital is coming together is really amazing,” says Aidan, who volunteered his services to the patient art review panel. “Having art specifically created for the new space will bring more positive energy and add a brighter feeling to the whole hospital.”

The Children’s Healing Experience Project is a Canadian – possibly a world-wide – first. In the spring, artists across Canada were challenged to make their mark on what could be the largest project of its kind in the country’s history. Sculptors, painters, photographers and graphic artists are working to create 400 unique pieces of artwork that will be part of 60,000 square feet of available space in the new hospital – a massive canvas.

It’s not just about art. The program will create inspirational healing experiences that engage and comfort children, youth, family and staff. There is a growing body of research that shows a purposeful healing environment can reduce the need for sedation, shorten hospital stays and improve psychological and physical functioning.

Aidan’s input will be combined with that of patient families, medical staff and senior-level volunteers who have a close connection with Children’s Hospital. Art and displays will be used not just in public spaces but extensively throughout clinical areas.

Several major provincial-based organizations with an expertise in engaging children, including the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, Royal BC Museum and H.R. MacMillian Space Centre, have also signed-on. Generous donor support from the Crystal Ball gala launched this incredible project.

Aidan says his work on the patient art review panel taught him how important it was that young patients have a say – and find a sense of control – during difficult times.

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