Quilting Party for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Dept. Written by Phoebe Steinhoff

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Quilting Party for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Dept. Written by Phoebe Steinhoff

September 21, 2005

an appointment with the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Department

As a child, I never liked going to the doctor's office. It always seemed like an impersonal place, where they could hurt you without a moment's hesitation. The doctors were always aloof and business-like. The only part that made it worth it was the sticker or toy I got at the end of my appointment. When I turned fifteen, I was diagnosed with ITP, or idiopathic thrombocytopenia, a common childhood illness and for me, an autoimmune disorder. After a hospital stay, treatment and another doctor's office, I was referred to the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology department at The Brooklyn Hospital Center. After a few visits, it was clear that this doctor's office was different than what I was used to.

Dr. Sadanandan and the team of doctors, nurses, and students who work there have made their office very friendly. They always remember who you are, and make you feel welcome. Even though people are always coming and going, patients feel like they've been welcomed into a big, busy family. When Dr. Sadanandan told me she wanted to do a project with all the kids, I was excited to help out. She knew she wanted a quilt, and with my art experience, I helped make it happen. We ordered supplies and cut squares. One Saturday, we had a big quilt-making party that all of the patients and their families were invited to. Everyone decorated a square and ate pizza. All of the people from the office were there, and it felt kind of like a family reunion. The squares were so beautiful, and the kids loved it! Now the office will have art that all of the patients and employees have made, welcoming new and old "family" members.

This was the first project I've ever had the opportunity to lead. I really don't want to take credit for it, because all of the people in the office helped so much, and it would have been impossible if all of us weren't involved. I go to Parsons School of Design, and it was great to be able to bring my art into this doctor's office. Everyone there has helped me and now that my disease isn't really serious, it's nice to have a reason to come back and to have something to give them in return.

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