Disney On Ice and The Doorways Plan Local Celebration for Deserving Children

Disney On IceDisney On Ice and The Doorways Plan Local Celebration for Deserving Children

Skate Party Celebrates 150,000 Guests Served at Medical Hospitality House

RICHMOND – Some very deserving children in Richmond will be treated to a special experience on Friday, September 11, as Disney On Ice rolls into town.  Disney On Ice performers will join with The Doorways to host a glittering skate party at the Richmond Coliseum celebrating 150,000 guests served.  The Doorways, founded in 1984, provides affordable accommodations for people who live outside of Richmond and need to be near our area hospitals.  Children and their families presently residing at The Doorways will have an opportunity to skate with performers, and meet some of the stars of the show!

The Doorways could not be more thrilled to partner with Disney On Ice and give our guests a magical experience while they are staying with us,” said Stacy Brinkley, President/CEO of The Doorways. “What better way to celebrate our 150,000 guests served than to see them interact with characters from Disney On Ice, an organization so dedicated to bringing joy and happiness to the lives of others.”

Disney On Ice is honored to have the opportunity to celebrate the courage of these families along with  the decades of quiet service by The Doorways for those seeking hope and comfort away from home,” said Brad Timberlake, Regional Vice President for Feld Entertainment.  “We are glad to highlight the work of the organization, and the courage of these families.”

In Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic, the legacy of Disney is displayed through 14 entertaining and inspiring stories in this epic production that features an international team of award-winning figure skaters, high-energy choreography and a breathtaking set.  With over 30 melodious masterpieces such as “Let It Go!,” “You’ve Got A Friend in Me” and “Hakuna Matata,” this show is the ultimate Disney fan experience.

Event Details

Who: The Doorways Skate Party with Disney On Ice performers at the Richmond Coliseum

What: Event to celebrate the children and their families who are guests at The Doorways

When: Friday, September 11, 2015 at 1:30 p.m.

Where: Richmond Coliseum, 601 East Leigh Street, Richmond, VA 23219


Richmond Show Details

Venue: Richmond Coliseum, 601 East Leigh Street, Richmond, VA 23219

Date and Time of Performances:

Thursday, September 10 – 7:00PM

Friday, September 11 – 7:00PM

Saturday, September 12 – 11:00AM, 3:00PM, 7:00PM

Sunday, September 13 – 11:00PM, 3:00PM

To order tickets by phone:                            800.745.3000

To order tickets online:                                 www.ticketmaster.com

It’s déjà vu, all over again.

We came across an article in the New York Times about Operation Mend.  It’s a program to help service members who have been injured in combat.  It uses the staff at the UCLA Medical Center, the resources of one of the best reconstructive surgery centers in the world, and the military to rebuild these battlefield heroes after they’ve been severely burned in combat or battle-related accidents.  Many of them have lost limbs or other body parts due to their injuries.  Most, if not all of them will undergo weeks, months, and years of surgery, therapy, and rehabilitation in an attempt to put their bodies and lives back together.  The Operation Mend website tells some compelling stories, and there are some pretty graphic before and after pictures of some of the vets who have been helped.  We couldn’t help but notice the many smiles in the after pictures.

The article (and our limited medical knowledge) made us wonder about one aspect of dealing with medical crisis:  There is such a thing as surgery fatigue, and you don’t have to be a burn victim to have it.

Anyone who has had a catastrophic injury may need repeated surgeries to repair what has been damaged.  This could be for shattered bones, to repair nerve damage, or to replace a damaged organ.

Perhaps the crisis is the result of a genetic anomaly?  Do you remember our friend from Belize?  She had a series of surgeries over the course of seven months to correct a birth defect that restricted her ability to walk.

If you’re someone who is getting an organ transplant, you will probably have to endure a series of procedures before, during, or after getting your new lease on life.  Heaven forbid that your body rejects your new organ.  It will be back to the drawing board.

This says nothing of the physical and emotional effects of having to endure multiple procedures.  Your body develops scar tissue, you develop a resistance to certain drugs and medications, and some have developed life-threatening allergies to things like latex.    A recent report in Pediatrics points to a possible link between multiple exposures to general anesthesia and learning disabilities.

How about the emotional fatigue?  You wake up in the same rut every day.  Still sick, still tired, still scared, and it’s already tomorrow.  It’s like Groundhog Day, but instead of waking up in Punxsutawney you’re packing for another trip to the hospital.  You lose your appetite, you have a constant apprehension, and healing becomes that much harder.

People in the medical profession know these things.  And they want to help.  The doctors who volunteer for Operation Mend, the orthopedists who worked on our friend from Belize, and the therapists that work with many of our guests have one goal in mind:  get you healthy and home.

Science is coming up with some wonderful tools to speed this process.  The military is doing amazing research into the use of artificial skin and special bandages to promote healing and fight infection.  A program at Rush University in Chicago is developing a growing prosthesis that allows children with bone disorders to have fewer surgeries.  An implanted bone can be adjusted to grow with a young patient.  Fewer and less invasive procedures!

If your loved one is seemingly trapped in this cycle of treatment, you can help.

Everyone should know what is coming up.  There should be a realistic expectation of the procedure, how long it’s going to take, and what it’s going to feel like afterwards.  Will there be a cast?  Will there be a long period of bed rest or limited activity?  How long will it be before we can swim or play?  Will we be able to bathe or brush our hair?

There may be pain, and we’re going to deal with it.  It may just be a little stick, or perhaps a pain that requires medication.  People dealing with pain will need to know how to deal with it and how to communicate their level of pain.  There is no such thing a too brave to admit to hurting.  And knowing that the pain will get better can be very reassuring.

If your loved one is in medical crisis then everyone becomes a patient.  The stress of procedures and treatments puts stress on the rest of the clan, too.  They may not need the same level of care as someone who is sick, but they need the same level of attention.

Lastly, just be there.  Some of the most difficult aspects of going through a series of procedures are the uncertainties, fears, and the disruption of life.  Pack a smile as a part of your wardrobe, keep laughter on your daily menu, and make tomorrow #1 on your things to do list!






The Top 10 Health Stories of 2011

Image by Salvatore Vuono2011 saw some pretty amazing things around The House, but there was some crazier stuff going on in the medical world.  We thought that we’d share some of them with you:

Cantaloupes.  Fruit is good for you, right?  It apparently matters where it came from.  A farm in Colorado sent tasty melons to outlets across the United States, and they were tainted with listeria.  150 people became violently ill and 29 people died.  It was far from the first such outbreak, but it was certainly another wakeup call.  Outbreaks of foodborne illness have involved everything from beef and meat products to vegetables and peanut butter.  Take some advice:  wash thoroughly and cook properly.

Vaccines DON’T cause autism.   A study in 1998 seemed to point to the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and a link to causing autism in young children.  Millions of parents questioned having their children vaccinated, and many refused the vaccine altogether.  The British Medical Journal revealed last year that the lead researcher had faked his results, and 10 researchers said that his findings were horse manure.  The researcher has since had his license to practice as an MD revoked, but parents are still worried about the vaccine.  It’s always something, isn’t it?  There was also a viral story travelling around the Internet about giving your kids chicken pox with suckers that had been licked by sick kids.  You’d be better off just letting them go to school.

To screen or not to screen; that is the question.  The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force said that men should not get a blood test screening for prostate cancer.  Oh, and women under 50 should not get mammograms.  Or was it 40?  Or was it cervical cancer screening?  The Centers for Disease Control, the Surgeon General, the American Cancer Society, and everyone else with a horse in the race got their 2 cents in, and there’s still no consensus.  The best first volley in fighting cancer is still early treatment, so we think that if you’re worried or at risk you should get screened.  But what do we know.

Put down your gadget.  The World Health Organization announced that your cell phone was giving you a direct line to cancer.  They also said that maybe it isn’t.  We think that you’re cell phone is at its most dangerous when you’re driving.  Or walking in a mall.

The brain is a remarkable thing.  It’s fragile, it’s resilient, and it’s the world’s most amazing computer.  The late Steve Jobs used his for creating the iPhone and one of the world’s most profitable companies (though he my not have used it for treating his cancer early).  Gabrielle Giffords used hers to return to the floor of Congress after being shot in the head at point-blank range.  The powers-that-be in sports are using theirs to finally address the concern over concussion in football players.

Stem Cells are here!  Northwestern Medicine researchers are using them to repair a neuron that dies early in Alzheimer’s sufferers.  They’re being tested in a patient who was paralyzed in an accident.  And a study of patients with heart disease showed improvement after stem cell therapies.  What was exciting about the heart patients was that the stem cell therapy went after their disease instead of just addressing symptoms.

Defining Alzheimer’s.  About 5 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s, and the disease can be as impactful for a family as it is for the patient.  Studies by the National Institute on Aging, the Alzheimer’s Association, and others were able to identify new ways to diagnose and treat the Big A, and as our population gets older this is some important stuff.  Articles and research have pointed to the role of diet and exercise (always favorites!) and Tennessee Coach Pat Summit showed that a diagnosis is not a death sentence.  Made us closet Volunteer fans, but don’t tell the Rams.

Food:  It’s not just for Listeria.  Eat peanut butter, or don’t.  Fat is good, but only if it’s good fat.  Your diet should be high in protein or low in protein, depending on whether or not you’re eating fish.  Oh, and your snapper may be a catfish that was labeled as grouper.  Just when you were ready to stick a fork in it the U.S.D.A. flambéed the food pyramid and cooked up a plate.  We’re going back to Gummi Bears.

Pssst:  I need drugs.  In an age that seems to have a clinical diagnosis for everything (and a corresponding television commercial), we have seen some scary drug shortages.  Drug manufacturers spend a great deal of time and money on research to come up with amazing medicines.  They then spend a great deal of time and money marketing these cures and fixes.  The Food and Drug Administration can regulate where they come from and how they are made, but not how much.  The past year has seen dangerous shortages in drugs to treat cancer, heart disease, depression, and others.  In some cases the shortage compromised the care of a patient!  We have no shortage of cell phones or Justin Bieber sightings, but chemotherapy?  Pretty important stuff.

Lastly (drumroll, please), we’re still here.  We still open our doors and our hearts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.  Christmas?  We were here.  New Year’s Eve?  We were here.  Five Wednesday’s ago?  Here.  While some of the stories listed here are scary things, some of them (like Congresswoman Giffords!) offer hope.  It costs a great deal of money to combat disease and to conduct research.  Treating illness isn’t free, either.  But hope?  That’s free.  We hand it out every day at our front desk.

World Pediatric Project

  • World Pediatric Project
  • We don’t like to keep beating this drum, but have you wondered how the Twins, Maria and Teresa, came to us?  They were a gift from the World Pediatric Project.

When you look at the vision of World Pediatric Project, it seems pretty simple and noble: Every child, regardless of geography, will have access to quality, critical care so that they can live full and productive lives.  They also declare, Geography doesn’t have to be the reason a child lives or dies.


The World Pediatric Project is much more than just bringing kids to doctors;  they send medical teams to Central America and the Caribbean to diagnose and treat sick children.  They help develop local programs in these areas to improve the overall health of the children and to also train local physicians and nurses.  In extremely critical cases, they partner children with doctors in the United States who are better equipped to meet their needs.

The Project started in 2001 when Richmonder Dr. Julian Metts went on a medical mission.  While out of the country, he saw many children sick and dying simply because they didn’t have access to quality critical care.  He partnered with the South Richmond Rotary Club to start International Hospital for Children.  They merged with another non-profit last March and World Pediatric Project was officially on the books.

In addition to the educational work that they do, and programs bringing children like the twins to doctors in the U.S., they do things like this:

Children in many developing countries suffer from birth defects due to improper nutrition.  In addition to providing education and dietary supplements for mothers, they started a program in Belize to correct clubfoot in disabled tots.  Using a U.S. partner, they taught local doctors how to use a series of corrective casts to improve the comfort and mobility in these children.

WPP helped to fund and build a NICU unit in St. Vincent.  Nurses and partners from Children’s Hospital of Richmond taught local nurses how to use the donated equipment and how to meet the critical needs of ill and preterm newborns.

Cardiologists from VCU and Children’s Hospital of Richmond have been travelling to the Dominican Republic for over 5 years to offer hands-on training to Dominican doctors in the diagnosis and prevention of heart diseases.  Dr. Scott Gullquist, leader of the project, says that he can see a drop in the mortality of children with these conditions.

More than 100 medical professionals volunteer to offer their services every year. The good news is that they have more volunteers than they have the finances to send out into the world.  The bad news is that they have more volunteers than they have the finances to send out into the world.

So how can we continue to help World Pediatric Project?

First of all, we are like World Pediatric Project, and many of the other non-profit organizations that strive to help those in need:  We need money.  Crisis and illness never go on vacation, and that keeps us open 24/7/365.  There are numerous ways for you to help, both large and small.  Whether a one time gift or an on-going contribution, you can explore the many options here.

You might be able to get your work gang together (like BB & T or Spotts Fain) to volunteer here at the house for a meal or a one-time project.  Many employers will also match donations, so check and see if your company will match any donations that you make to us.

You can also organize your group or organization (like Hanover Youth Service!) to host a party, a team, or event to help raise funds for HHH. Hanover Youth Service

Any way that you look at it, the World Pediatric Project is doing some great work.  We would love to see them continue to grow and thrive.  We hope that they are able to continue to help wonderful children like Maria and Teresa, and perhaps be in a position to one day broaden their reach to be truly global.  One thing is for sure:  We’re proud to have played a part in their equation of good, and we’ll continue to be here to help.



What Defines Who You Are?

There is a condition, called prosopagnosia, where people can’t recognize faces.  They see eyes, noses, and hair, but can’t process them into features that make a person familiar.  When you think about someone that you know, what makes him or her familiar to you?  Is it the color of their hair?  Is it the fact that they were tall?  Is it perhaps the way that they tell a joke or their exceptional skill at cooking chicken?

This defining characteristic isn’t who they are, though; it’s just something about them.

Person:  (per-suhn) noun:  a human being, whether a man, woman, or child as distinguished from an animal or a thing.

Did you notice that the definition doesn’t mention a cancer, or a bad heart, or an accident?

A distinguishing characteristic for our guests is that they’re in medical crisis.  That ties them all together.  The people that we meet have diseases, are dealing with surgeries, are recovering from treatments, and are sometimes quite remarkable.

But we don’t remember them by their condition, though.

We remember our guests because of the remarkable people that they are.  We remember them because of their stories, and because of their sharing, and because they are people.

What do we remember about the twins?  We remember the laughter and giggling as they played.  We can still hear it ringing in the rooms where they did what little girls do.  We can hear it every time we look back at a picture of their smiling faces.

What do we remember about Margaret and her portable heart?  We remember the story about the one that got away.   Margaret went fly-fishing while she was waiting for her new heart, because that’s what people like Margaret do.

Our guests laugh just like other people, and they eat just like other people, and they sleep just like other people.  The things that brought them here are just a characteristic, like having red hair, or having an accent, or being left handed.  It doesn’t define who they are.  It’s just something else to know about them.

This might be good advice for many of us.  Life can be challenging.  We’re dealing with a poor economy, we’re fearful for the health of our planet, and there are still wars and unrest around the world.  There are things in our daily lives that put up obstacles for us.

But these daily challenges don’t define us; they’re just something for us to deal with.  Just a characteristic.  Like having red hair or being left handed.

What do we see when we walk around the Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond?  We see people.


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