At Pierre's Birthday Fund, we are geared toward improving the social, mental, and emotional well-being of hospitalized kids. We focus on services that bring a smile to a child's face and comfort through pain management. Our goal is to bring the following programs and therapies that Pierre loved to both UCSF Benioff Oakland and Mission Bay so that patients can receive equal services at each Benioff location. We are diligently working with each site to promote our programs to help more children.
Hands on art projects help hospitalized children and their families manage stress, work through traumatic experiences, voice unexpressed emotions and enjoy the pleasure of creating something beautiful. Art serves as a way to connect the mind, emotions, and body in a positive and beneficial way. For children in the hospital, it can mean the difference between simply getting through the day and taking an active and interested approach to recovery.
Our goal is to provide hospitalized children the opportunity to explore art therapy. Through one-on-one sessions and various media options like ceramics, prints, and murals, children are given the chance to drive their own creative and healing processes. Whether enjoying individual art therapy sessions or joining in with weekly art groups, art therapy allows patients and family members to express themselves.
Bingo is a highlight in the life of a hospitalized child and something to look forward to. Play is an opportunity for patients to feel normal and be distracted from pain and impending procedures. It's also an opportunity for kids to feel part of a community while in the hospital. So often the games and prizes in Children’s Hospitals are stickers and teddy bears geared toward younger kids. Teenagers end up missing out because they don't want to participate. To get teens more involved, Pierre raised money to add cool, hip and age appropriate prizes for the hospital’s Thursday night bingo parties. Teens are now showing up and having fun! At UCSF Oakland and Mission Bay, patients can either head to an activity room to play Bingo or participate by closed-circuit television in their rooms.
PBF provides funding for bingo prizes at both UCSF Oakland and Mission Bay to brighten the day of hospitalized kids of all ages and to continue supporting this activity that Pierre loved.
Video games are an effective and proven pain management tool and provide much-needed entertainment for young people during long hospital stays. GO Karts are portable gaming kiosks designed by Gamers Outreach to provide easy access to video gaming entertainment in the hospital setting. Each GO Kart is equipped with an internal hydraulic lift that allows the monitor to move up and down so it adjusts to the patient’s bedside.
In Oakland, Pierre played with the GO Kart many times and saw firsthand the joy it brought to kids. There was only one GO Kart when Pierre started treatment in Oakland and he wanted for wait times to get the cart to be shorter and play time longer. Thanks to his efforts, Oakland now has a fleet of GO Karts. For more information about GO Karts, go to www.gamersoutreach.org.
It's no secret that music can be uplifting and relaxing in any situation. A growing amount of evidence suggests that the power of music can also have significant benefits to patients (and their families) in clinical settings. At UCSF Oakland and Mission Bay, music therapy sessions are customized to the patient as one-on-one visits in the patients's room. A typical session may involve music listening, guided visualization, song writing, improvisation, or music-assisted relaxation.
Beads of Courage
The Beads program is a resilience-based intervention designed to facilitate story telling in a non-verbal and widely available way. Patients are given a set of beads and a string to begin their bead string story with their name. Then, for every step along their journey, they mark events with specific beads. For example, a "bumpy" bead for a difficult time with a medication, a glow in the dark bead for a session of radiation, a star bead for a surgery…etc.
Pierre fell in love with the program at UCSF Benioff Oakland, but when Pierre was sent to Mission Bay for treatment, he discovered the Beads of Courage program was not available. PBF now fully funds the Beads of Courage program at UCSF Benioff Mission Bay. For more information about Beads of Courage, go to www.beadsofcourage.org.
Sponsoring birthday parties for all patients hospitalized on their birthday is the heart of Pierre's Birthday fund. After spending his 17th birthday in the hospital, Pierre became passionate about making sure children who are in the hospital on their birthday have a special celebration. The birthday party program is designed to give patients hope and to take a moment to celebrate their lives. Each child who spends their birthday in the hospital is thrown a birthday party, including a $50 personalized gift courtesy of “Pierre”.
PBF provides full funding for the birthday party program for all children who are in the hospital on their birthday at both Oakland and Mission Bay.
Being in the hospital is a life altering experience for a child. Emotional health, development, learning, social connections, stability - all are affected as children and their families deal with uncertainty, isolation and the many other stresses that accompany a serious illness. Child Life Services is there to help with the whole experience. With an emphasis on care and comfort, education and empowerment, this important program gives children undergoing complex medical treatment essential support and the chance to feel normal during some of the most difficult moments of their young lives. The Child Life departments at UCSF Oakland and San Francisco oversee all of Pierre's Birthday Fund programs in the hospital setting.
KindVR’s mission is to help patients mitigate pain and stress by developing virtual reality software for specific medical procedures and conditions.
Pierre's Birthday fund supports KindVR by funding patient headsets. More information about KindVR can be found at www.kindvr.com
When performed by trained licensed massage therapists, massage therapy can provide symptomatic relief from many common conditions that occur while hospitalized. Massage therapy also increases the relaxation response, improves circulation, increases range of mobility, relieves pain, accelerates healing, strengthens the immune system, improves the quality of sleep, and provides a reassuring human touch (lowering the risk of anxiety and increasing feelings of comfort).
At the Mission Bay campus, the massage program consists of 30 minute massages given twice a week to patients undergoing pain management at no cost to the patient. Patients reported on average a 62% reduction in tension, 54% reduction in depression, 52% reduction in anxiety, 43% reduction in pain, 38% reduction in fatigue and 31% reduction in nausea. Pierre looked so forward to his massages and he wanted to make sure he was awake to enjoy the relaxation and settling of his mind. He especialy liked it when his cousin came to play the violin during the massage. Lying in bed for days on end, he had many knots in his back and neck that the massage therapist was able to work on which relieved much of his pain and tension without medication.
PBF is proudly bringing massage therapy to the Oakland campus in 2017 so that patients there will benefit from the same therapies provided at Mission Bay. We are also providing full funding for massage in Mission Bay and Oakland in 2017.