Patients and families receiving cancer care at Children’s of Alabama now have an additional source of encouragement thanks to an art donation made today that was designed by patients in the hospital’s cancer clinic.
The new artwork – entitled “Express Yourself” – recognizes Express Oil’s $38,489 donation to the Hope and Cope program at the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s. Children’s patients and their families helped unveil the painting during a ceremony held at the state’s only freestanding pediatric medical facility.
Children’s is the state’s single largest provider of specialized pediatric services for all forms of cancer, leukemia, brain and spinal cord tumors, hemophilia and other bleeding disorders and sickle cell diseases. The Hope and Cope program provides support and services including art and music therapy from diagnosis onwards.
“I know the art work will serve as a reminder of the importance of our mission to our staff. We are truly honored to have a community partner like Express Oil,” said Dr. Raymond G. Watts, MD, director of the UAB Division of Pediatric Hematology and a professor of Pediatrics at UAB.
Express Oil raised the funds for its donation during its annual Change-A-Life Campaign this past April. Throughout the month the quick-service car care franchise donated $1 from every car serviced in all of its 206 locations. The art therapy program helps address the emotional needs of children with serious blood disorders and cancer providing them a positive, creative outlet to express their feelings and experiences.
“We’re proud to give back to the community by supporting Children’s of Alabama,” said Ricky Brooks, CEO of Express Oil Change and Service Center. “It’s an outstanding organization that focuses on finding a cure for devastating childhood diseases and giving much-needed hope to patients and their families.”
Since launching the Change-A-Life campaign in 2008, Express Oil Change & Service Center has raised more than $200,000 for Children’s.
Artist Lillis Taylor of ArtPlay helped complete the project. Taylor first met with the patients and staff to capture images of their hands in gestures of love, strength, positivity, fun, compassion and gratitude. The images were then combined into a collage, which was printed on soft cotton.
“We use our hands in almost all of the ways that we express ourselves: when writing, when painting or sculpting, when speaking, when playing music, when praying and when dancing,” Taylor said. “Our hands can express universal ideals regardless of creed, nationality, gender or race.”
Each patient chose his or her favorite Beads of Courage® bead to be added to the composition and explained the significance of this choice. The collaborators include Dyshawn Champion, Frances Grace Hirs, Charlie Jean Reeder, Taiya Smith, Dontrez Green, Reginae Bush and Reyniah Bush. Colorful embroidery was layered onto this collage, Taylor added, building texture and animation in the hands, just as life’s challenges and experiences add expression to hands as people age.
Express Oil Change and Service Center is one the leading automotive service providers in the South with 206 locations across 13 states. Throughout its 34-year history, its oil change process has been refined to give customers the quickest oil change around, while still providing the highest quality service possible and premium vehicle maintenance checks. Each Express Oil Change and Service Center houses a full-service automotive mechanical department staffed by ASE-certified technicians using state-of-the-art equipment and premium parts. The company promises quality work, friendliness and integrity in everything it does.
Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children across the state and throughout the southeastern U.S. since 1911. For the past four years, Children’s has been ranked among the best children’s hospital programs in the nation by US News & World Report. Last year, patients made more than 670,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 41 other states and four foreign countries. With more than 2 million square feet, it is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. Children’s offers inpatient and outpatient services across its Russell Campus on Birmingham’s historic Southside with additional outpatient services provided at Children’s South and Children’s on 3rd. Primary care is provided at more than a dozen medical offices in communities across central Alabama. Children’s of Alabama is the only medical center in Alabama dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children. It is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the primary site of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, research and residency programs. In 2012, Children’s moved much of its inpatient services into a new building named The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children. More information is available at www.childrensal.org.
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