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

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.



A Joyful Noise

I love this song!  We say it often in the car.  We hear it as the soundtrack in a movie or a TV show.  This one makes you want to roll down the windows and sing.  This one makes you want to hug someone.  This one brings back fond memories of a long lost love.  This one may help you get better.


We’re lucky in that our volunteers often bring us the gift of music.  We have singers, musicians, guitars, pianos, and sing-alongs with our guests, and often get to share in a joyful noise.  All of that noise does wonders for healing.  It’s true!

Many studies show that music is a great tool for controlling breathing and heart rate.  It’s a proven muscle relaxer, and provides a structure for releasing body tension.  The National Institutes of Health published the findings of a group of researchers that studied almost 2,000 cancer patients, and found that music therapy was able to reduce their levels of anxiety.

Certain patients have to be awake during surgical procedures.  People being operated on for conditions like epilepsy, Parkinson’s, brain tumors, and other neurological conditions have to be able to respond to verbal cues from the doctor.  Imagine lying on a gurney for hours on end listening to the clatter of instruments, the hum of machines, and the chatter of surgeons as they cut open your head.  A study at the Cleveland Clinic showed that music slowed the firing of neurons deep in the brain and made being awake during these procedures much less stressful.

Researchers at the University of Maryland asked a group of test subjects to listen to music that made them feel good and brought them a sense of joy.  Their blood vessels expanded during the musical interlude and increased blood flow.  This reaction was very similar to experiments with laughter.

Dr. Oliver Sacks, made famous in the movie Awakenings, is also a best-selling author.  He recently published a book called Musicophilia about the experiences of people with neurological disorders and their interaction with music.  People paralyzed with Parkinson’s suddenly became animated, stroke victims were able to speak, a man had no long term memory past 7 seconds, except for music, and people became hypermusical after a trauma like a lightening strike.  Like a strong drug it unlocked a closed brain.

A group at the MIT Media Lab is working to unlock the brains organic connection to music.  Music comprehension occupies more space in our brain than language.  Led by Ted Machover, they created Hyperscore, a computerized program that allows anyone to compose music.  They teamed up with Dan Ellsey, who has cerebral palsy and cannot walk or speak.  With a special interface that reads his facial expressions he is able to emotionally express his thoughts and ideas through composing and performing original pieces of music.

We like music at The House because it is a joyful noise.  It brings smiles to our faces and the faces of our guests.  Whether it is the song that transports us back to a better day, or the tune that makes us want to tap our feet, or the lilt that opens our mouth to sing along, it heals.

It’s All In Your Head. Isn’t It?

I was at a dinner party once.   I met a most interesting man.  There was not a topic that came up that he wasn’t well versed in and the conversation ranged far and wide.  At one point the topic turned to physics and as he spoke I interjected, What are you?  A rocket scientist?

Yes, he replied.  Yes, I am.  It turns out that he was technically an astrophysicist.  He and his research partner have a display in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. displaying the results of some of their work.  I’ve seen it.

Later, in the kitchen with his wife, I remarked about what an interesting person he was.  She replied that he had become much more interesting since his brain tumor.  I thought that was remarkable.

Even more remarkable was how he dealt with it.

He had been diagnosed with an advanced tumor, and after weeks and months of treatment he had been sent home to die.  His family set up a bed in the family den and began the process of dealing with his decline.

One morning he woke up, looked around at his home, saw the care and concern of his family and friends, and decided to do something about it.

He began to research holistic remedies, meditation, and alternative therapies.  Almost a year to the date of his ‘epiphany’ he had a check-up and was declared cancer-free.  He remains convinced that he’d healed himself.

True story.

The mind is truly a powerful tool in the road toward healing.  There have been many studies in the power of mind over body.  Many of these studies deal with the power of the mind in sport.

Free diving is the sport of diving as deep as possible on a single breath.  Free divers do this with no scuba gear, often to depths of 400 feet.  Granted, there is a tremendous amount of physical training that goes into this but they must also train their minds to cope with the stresses of these depths and oxygen deprivation.  They learn to slow their heartbeats, calm their minds, resist the urge to breath, and maintain a slow, steady rise to the surface.

The New York Times recently published an article about cyclists and the perception of effort.  They had cyclists pedal on a stationary bike as hard as they possibly could.  They then raced against a computerized version of themselves, or avatar.  When the avatar pedaled as fast as the cyclist’s fastest time, the biker matched the time.  The researcher would then speed up the avatar and tell the biker, O.K., here it is again.  Thinking that they were matching their peak performance, the cyclist would pedal away, never realizing that they had just increased their performance by up to 5%.

We know that laughter is the best medicine.  We’ve seen amazing research into the power of the placebo effect.  There is some really groundbreaking work going on in biohybrid prosthetics.  An amputee can control a prosthetic limb by simply thinking it to move.

Sometimes surgery is necessary.  Medications can help us heal.  The first step is wanting it to happen.  That part is all in your head.

National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

On September 1st President Obama proclaimed September to be National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

We see many guests here at The House who are in treatment for cancer and the little folks really touch our hearts.  The President’s proclamation does much to raise awareness but does little to find a cure.

Children face the same range of cancers as adults but most commonly see Leukemia, Lymphoma and Brain Cancer.  The treatments are the same; surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, but it impacts a child’s life and a child’s family much harder.  Imagine anticipating recess and dealing with this instead?

About 14 out of every 100,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer this year.  While many children carry a gene that makes them pre-disposed to cancer not all children will get it.  Certain toxins and environmental factors may make cancer more probable.  The National Institutes of Health released a list of known carcinogens and it is a scary read.  Tobacco smoke, wood smoke, asbestos, minerals, chemical compounds, UV rays; it is a scary list.

Treatment can be just as scary as diagnosis.  The drugs used in chemotherapy and the doses of radiation can kill healthy cells and the trauma of surgery can be difficult for a child to overcome.   Even if a child has a seemingly successful treatment The Journal of Clinical Oncology says that the mortality rate of children with cancer is ten times that of a healthy population due to the ravaging effects of cancer and treatment.

You can certainly do your part to reduce the risk to your little one.  Look around the house and take an assessment of what chemicals you expose them to on a regular basis.  Cleaning supplies, beauty supplies, pesticides, plastics, foods, and toys all regularly contain compounds that are known to increase the risk for cancer.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a great web site with a list of recalls and products to look out for.

The American Childhood Cancer Organization is a great source for news about product safety, treatments, support groups, and more.  They started in 1970 and do much to drive research and policy in the fight against cancer.  They are also an organized voice to speak to the needs of those in the middle of the fight.  They have a link to share a Gold Ribbon to show your support for those facing this battle.

During October we expect all the members of our extended family to wear a Pink Ribbon for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Why don’t we go into October sporting a Gold Ribbon to show our support for our little friends?

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