St. John’s Mercy Medical Center today unveiled plans for a newly expanded Cardinals-themed Pediatric Cancer and Hematology Center . The improvements will be funded by a $1 million Challenge Gift led by St. Louis Cardinals minority owner David Pratt, for whom the hospital’s David C. Pratt Cancer Center is named.
The Cardinals-themed children’s cancer center – which will be 2,000 square feet larger than the hospital’s current facility – will be designed with a look and feel reminiscent of the new Busch Stadium, complete with murals depicting the ballpark’s distinct brick archways and a baseball diamond outlined in the floor.
“This is a Challenge Grant for a reason. I am challenging the St. Louis community to step up to the plate and meet – or exceed – this initial $1 million donation,” said Pratt. “No child should ever have to experience chemotherapy or radiation, but for those who must, the expanded center will be a much-needed safe haven on their way to healing.”
“Our motto is ‘Treat the child, not just the cancer,’ with a goal of making life livable – even enjoyable – for our patients as they undergo therapy. And what’s more enjoyable than Cardinals baseball?” asked Dr. Bob Bergamini, M.D., who oversees St. John’s Mercy Children’s Hospital pediatric cancer services. “Not only does baseball stimulate our kids and encourage them to interact, but the guiding principles of the sport – perseverance, teamwork, commitment, and a positive outlook – are vital components in helping our patients and their families cope with cancer’s many challenges.”
The new children’s cancer center will feature four distinct therapy rooms:
The Box Office reception area will feature a floor-to-ceiling mural of Busch Stadium’s interior, providing a colorful backdrop and setting the stage for the experience of healing through therapeutic play. The redesigned entrance will be easily accessible from all therapy and treatment rooms and will promote better patient and staff interaction.
The Bullpen will provide space for physical reconditioning and enhancing of motor skills, since chemotherapy, radiation, and some medications used to treat blood disorders can complicate even simple tasks – like holding a spoon – for young patients. Activities in the Bullpen will include arcade games like Dance Dance Revolution to encourage movement and reduce nerve damage, light weights that promote pulling and lifting to build strength, a home theater to provide visual and auditory stimulation, rolling activities that improve spatial balance, work space for parents, and locker rooms for families’ belongings during long treatment days.
Mudville will provide a safe, sanitary place for children to explore their emotions and senses through various art media and textural interactions. By playing with sand, paint, modeling clay and other materials, children come to understand their feelings and find inner strength. Designed as a “rubber room,” this area can be washed down easily – letting kids get active and messy, while maintaining a clean area that doesn’t threaten their weakened immune systems.
Fredbird’s Roost is the place for fun, allowing patients and families to come together for therapeutic activities involving integrated movement, spatial relationships, and balance. A replica of Busch Stadium’s brick façade will adorn the outside of the Roost, with plenty of open space inside for organized activities such as karaoke, drama, and games. This room will provide an outlet for patients to participate in activities that encourage self-expression, a vital element in restoring their self-esteem.
Cardinals Cottage is the next best thing to being at home, offering patients multi-sensory devices and activities that stimulate both the mind and body. Toddlers will have access to toys, rattles, and dolls, while other children can prepare meals and eat together, and teens will have a quiet place for reflection or just listening to music.
“The Cardinals couldn’t be happier to be associated with such a great facility and are extremely proud to have David as a member of the Cardinals family,” said Mark Lamping, Cardinals president. “We’re looking forward to seeing the renovated children’s cancer center when it’s complete and having our players visit this replica Busch Stadium when they’re not at the real one.”
The Pediatric Cancer and Hematology Center currently serves 300 patients undergoing various cancer and hematology treatments and procedures. Annually, that totals approximately 1,000 visits.
Select the image below to see the floor layout in a high-resolution format (all images courtesy of the St. Louis Cardinals)