The Mary Claire Satterly Pediatric Oncology Playroom at the new Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chapel Hill, NC is the first of many Foundation projects. The colorful playroom opened in September 2009 and was dedicated in November 2009. Filled with Mary Claire’s artwork and passions, it will forever bear her beautiful name and exude the spirit she herself brought to every room she entered. Here, recovering children find an inviting room that beckons them to enter.
The focal point of the room is a whimsical mural designed and painted by artist Denise Hughes. Those who know Mary Claire will quickly note the landmarks of her life – her home in Wilson, NYC’s Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge, Chapel Hill’s Old Well, a topiary of flying pigs symbolizing her love of Eastern N.C. barbeque, and a chirping bird signifying the music and dance she so loved.
The “Mary Claire Playroom” is filled with toys, colors, and sunshine so that children can enjoy some of the comforts of a more normal childhood during their hospital stay. The design is a collaborative effort of the pediatric oncology staff, parents, and other professionals. These experts recognize that playing is truly a form of therapy for children patients, and over the years they have witnessed just how critical it is for children to maintain a playing schedule to cope with intense testing and treatments.
Bright windows maximum natural light, while cozy nooks are strategically placed around the room to give children a comfortable place to explore. Shelves overflow with children’s books, educational activities, and games. Children will be inspired to build structures, solve puzzles, and tap into their creative talents. Playroom designers ensured that there are plenty of activities for children of all ages.
The Foundation will launch the UNC Mary Claire Satterly Digital Art Therapy Program in the playroom to improve the quality of life for pediatric cancer patients and continue to spread MC’s creative and artistic passions to the youngsters at UNC…her favorite place on earth. A trained Recreational Therapist and Child life Specialist, as well as “MCSpirit” volunteers, will encourage pediatric patients and parents to express themselves through art therapy, music and journal writing, maybe even a few dance moves!