Newly renovated Star Wars-themed PGH Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Clinic brings joy to indigent children with cancer

By PR |February 16,2019 - 12:27 PM

The meet Darth Vader and the Stormtrooper-themed hallway. /Contributed Photo

Sometime in 2016, the doctors at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and the PGH Medical Foundation Inc. saw the need to renovate the Hematology – Oncology Clinic at the Cancer Institute. While PGH is recognized as the national university’s hospital, the facilities were far from being conducive for healing.

“When I came in 2013, the clinic was in disarray – sira sira ‘yung sahig ng clinic (the clinic’s floor was dilapidated) at madumi siya (it was dirty),” related Dr. Ana Patricia Alcasabas of the PGH Cancer Institute and the section head of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology. “After visiting other hospitals, even here in the Philippines, I saw the need to renovate our out-patient clinic. However, it seemed impossible as we did not have any budget for this.”

According to Dr. Alcasabas, the out-patient clinic sees around 400 children with cancer each month. The most common diagnosis were leukemia, brain tumors, eye cancer and bone cancer. Of these, about 300 children have to undergo procedures such as IV chemotherapy, bone marrow aspirations and lumbar taps in the clinic.

Natatakot ang mga bata ‘pag pumupunta sila dito, kasi tutusukan sila sa likod (the children are scared when they come to the clinic because of the injections). We wanted a clinic environment that promotes wellbeing and positive energy,” she said.

(L-R) Dr. Carmencita Padilla, Chancellor, UP Manila; Dr. Jorge Ignacio, Chair, Cancer Institute; Dr. Gerardo Legaspi, Director, Philippine General Hospital; Veronica Cabalinan, Country Head, The Walt Disney Company – Philippines; Yoly Crisanto, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications and Chief Sustainability Officer, Globe Telecom; Rossy Anne Yabut Rojales, Creative Director, Hurray Interior Design Group; and, Dr. Lorna Abad, Chair, PGH Department of Pediatrics / Contributed Photo

After consulting with the PGH Medical Foundation headed by its President, Dr. Telesforo Gana Jr., it was decided that they would pursue the project and solicit the help of Globe Telecom. At that time, Globe was already actively participating in the foundation’s gift-giving activities.

Together with its various partners and customers, Globe was able to raise and donate P1.4 million for the rehabilitation of the Hematology – Oncology Clinic. The project concept started in December 2016 in line with the company’s Create Courage Star Wars-themed campaign which strongly demonstrated the resilience of children in the face of adversity and encouraged the public to help via donations through prepaid load or charges to their postpaid bill.

“We are proud to have our partners, employees, and customers step in to participate in this worthwhile undertaking. We hope that through this project, we can all bring hope to the patients at the PGH Pediatric Hematology – Oncology clinic,” said Yoly Crisanto, Globe Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications.

The newly renovated clinic was turned over to the PGH management team recently.   During the turnover ceremonies, partners were awarded certificates of appreciation for their invaluable contribution to the project and were given jars of atchara (pickled papaya) specially prepared by the parents of pediatric cancer patients. Guests were also treated to a special dance number performed by a select group of pediatric cancer patients.

The Walt Disney Company – Philippines contributed to the project by sharing their Star Wars designs and sponsoring the printing of all wall sticker artworks. The designs were carefully chosen and customized by artists from Globe Creatives and Visual Management team to fit the overall look and feel of the clinic.

The names of the consultation rooms were also patterned after key Star Wars characters like Rey, Darth Vader, Hans Solo and Princess Leah. There is also a height chart with various characters in it. The designs were made very colorful to serve as “happy distractions” for the children who undergo treatment at the clinic.

The hospital’s procedure area. / Contributed Photo

Hurray Interior Design Group, a partner of PGH Medical Foundation, also did their part by ensuring that the interiors and overall vibe of the clinic are aligned with what Globe and the foundation envisioned. At the same time, SBS Philippines Corporation sponsored the clinic’s medical equipment. Other partners were Amdocs and Singtel.

Dr. Alcasabas said they are happy to see the smiles on the children’s faces when they step into the clinic. “The clinic has two parts. The first is the consultation area where we discuss the cancer diagnosis with the family; and the other is the procedure area. This is where the patients get their chemotherapy infusion while they watch television or read books. There is also a part where procedures done. The space ship designs on the ceiling provide a positive distraction for them (from anxiety and fear), as they await the anesthesiologist and oncologist. The doctors too and some adult patients are also happy with the way the center turned out. It’s a happy place that gives comfort,” she said.

The hospital is also looking forward to partner with Globe in their future projects which include, among others, plans to further their research to improve treatment for cancer patients and coming up with standard operating procedures.

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