Being at the hospital and going through treatment can be demanding and tiring for patients and their families, especially if they are here for a long period of time. Being away from home often means missing out on daily activities and events that are typically incorporated in a child and family’s routine. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital recognizes the importance of normalizing the child and family’s hospital stay. Child life specialists provide special events that enable families to have those experiences that also give opportunities to celebrate their child and positive moments in their life. A special event is defined as a planned activity or performance, having educational, inspirational, or entertainment value for children, adolescents, and their families.
The Child Life Department provides the following events each year for patients and families:
Child Life/Music Therapy Month — Each year during the month of March, a day is set aside to honor the work child life specialists and music therapists contribute to the children and their families. A celebration is planned for staff, patients, and families to learn about Child Life and Music Therapy. While learning about the professions, attendees have the opportunity to have fun by taking part in some of the entertainment and eating snacks! This event always has a fun theme and everyone is encouraged to come together and have some fun!
Easter — Child Life hosts an Easter activity for all inpatients and their families. The Easter Bunny hops his way down the halls of St. Jude and delivers baskets to all the inpatient rooms. This is an event for the scrapbook, so parents get your cameras ready! Sweets for all!
Teen Formal — This celebrates one of the most important events in a teen’s life: prom. Patients and their siblings ages 15 to 19 are invited to dance the night away. Due to the generous donations of staff and many local businesses, this glamorous evening complete with a red carpet, limousines, prom pictures, formal wear, and makeovers creates an unforgettable night for our teens.
Sibling Star Day – Siblings are such an important part of the family, but the focus is often on a sick brother or sister during treatment. The annual St. Jude Sibling Star Day is a special event that honors siblings. It helps acknowledge the ways brothers and sisters help in the healing process and gives them a time to shine. The day includes an activity time for siblings ages 4- 19 years, a party for patients and families honoring and thanking siblings for all they do, and a ceremony and sibling trophy presentation.
Neon Night of Fun — In August, patients, siblings and guests ages 10–14 have a Neon Night of Fun in the Kay Kafe Rotunda. Each year, neon activities are provided to go along with the fun music provided by a local DJ. The famous chefs of St. Jude cater the event with great food that is sure to make the children glow! Since this event is for pre-teens only, something special is always planned for parents to do as well in a different location of the hospital.
Teen Art Show — At this one-day event, art by teenage patients and their siblings is displayed as it would be in a real art gallery. The event highlights St. Jude teen and young adult patients' view of the hospital and other parts of life. The art includes photography, drawings, paintings, collage, music, beading, crochet, sculptures, and poetry.
Halloween — A multidisciplinary team puts together this hospital-wide event. Each year units pick a theme to transform their assigned area for one day. Patients and siblings who want to take part get a map of more than 50 stops around the hospital, plus a trick-or-treat bag. Sugar and smiles galore!