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Twin Cities Hospital Uses Art To Help Kids Heal

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CBS Minnesota (con't)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s a program at a Twin Cities hospital that’s helping kids cope with the pain.

In recent years, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota has expanded its Arts and Healing program and is helping a young girl deal with a chronic lung condition. Those who meet 10-year-old Angelina Wollen may think she simply has a cold.  It sounds as if the fifth-grader is congested, but is much more than that.

“The worse I’ve ever had it, I can’t get up. I need helping going to the bathroom. I won’t eat at all. I’m on oxygen,” said Angelina, whose condition doctors are unable to diagnose, but compare to Cystic Fibrosis.

The cough has been with Angelina since she was little and it’s getting worse. Her condition requires long visits to the hospital and different devices to help her breathe.

“It’s frustrating because she continues to have this,” said Jenny Wollen, her mother. “But, I imagine if we weren’t using these treatments it would be much worse than it is.”

For the last five years, Angelina has been in and out of Minneapolis Children’s Hospital.  She was there for nearly two months in the spring of 2012.

“Hospitals can often times be a very scary and sterile place to be,” said Carol Allesee, the arts director at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Children’s is trying to take patients’ minds off of being sick with art, and it’s working. Angelina seems as content as can be working on a project. Those behind the Arts and Healing project see it every day.

“It’s a nice distraction from meeting with the doctors and nurses,” said Allesee.

Angelina said she agrees.

“It’s something I can work on whenever I want and kind of like helps me express myself,” she said.

The excitement of a new project helps Angelina pass the time, but she is still a young girl in pain.

“There were some times the artwork was sad,” said Angelina’s mom.  “That’s hard to see as a mom, you want to make everything better, as a parent you want to kiss all the boo-boo’s and you want to make them go away and you can’t always do that.”

The projects are a bright part of the day for patients like Angelina.  The art may not be the cure, but it certainly is helping.

“I try to make the best of it so that I could be a little bit happier,” says Angelina.

Angelina is sharing her story on Friday at a fundraiser for the Arts and Healing program.

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