Young Vincent van Goughs recently gathered to show off their artistic abilities at the Children’s Healing Center.
The center, located off Fulton Street in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was created and founded by a past patient Amanda Winn. Shortly before her 22nd birthday, Winn was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a blood cancer.
Right before Winn’s diagnosis, she graduated from University of Michigan with a degree in architecture. Her time spent at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital led to the idea of creating the center.
“I just thought it would be really cool to create a space for children and parents to come interact in a safe, clean environment,” Winn said.
It took five years to launch, but now the center is in full swing and just had its first offsite patient and family party that was directed by P.O.R.T. board member and lead volunteer, Christina Rosloniec.
Patients and family members enjoyed an evening of arts and crafts, as well as music by Joshua Dunigan, a member of Wa Zo Bia, who taught children how to play traditional African drumming.
Danyle Schiefla, mother of two sons who are both battling juvenile arthritis and Von Willebrand disease, a bleeding disorder, said the center has been a fun place for families to relax.
“It’s safe,” Schiefla said. “And they love the activities. The parent support and meeting new families has been really great, too.”