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Picture Me Happy

A Creative Outlet for Seriously Ill Children

Imagine what it would be like if you couldn’t go outside–ever. Or even leave your room? Anyone who has been sick with a serious illness knows that it is an awful experience. The days drag on, optimism shrinks, and boredom and depression set in.

For approximately 1 million children in the United States, this is every day real life. These children are seriously ill with progressive medical conditions and reliant on the hospital for daily care and activities. Communication is limited to visits by family and friends. Excitement and hope can be a tall order.

As a hospital volunteer, Palm Springs’ resident and celebrity photographer Tim Courtney saw the need for chronically and terminally ill children to have a creative outlet. “I knew that the magic of photography could bring something powerful to these children and I wanted to do more,” said Courtney, “that was the start of Picture Me Happy.”

Founded in May 2007, Picture Me Happy, is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) that brings creativity to chronically and terminally ill children through a photography workshop in children’s hospitals. It is an ‘Arts in Medicine’ program that is recognized for enhancing the healing process.

The program gives these children whose life is filled with doctors, appointments and treatments a creative activity which they control from start to finish. Picture Me Happy places emphasis on supporting and inspiring a child to take ownership of their creativity. Each child is given a Polaroid camera and becomes the Photographer, the Designer and Creator of his or her very own personal magazine.

Allison Singhi, BA CCLS, of Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach states, “Picture Me Happy is wonderful because it is unique and just plain fun. It is the only program I’ve seen that allows patients to use a camera and take photos of whatever they want all by themselves. Patients and families truly enjoy Picture Me Happy visits. Some patients have participated numerous times throughout different hospitalizations. They always get excited when we tell them that Picture Me Happy is coming.”

Picture Me Happy is currently raising funds to serve more Coachella Valley children through Loma Linda Children’s Hospital and other local hospitals. It takes thousands of dollars a year to bring the Picture Me Happy program to these hospitalized children. To donate or get more information visit www.PictureMeHappy.org.

 

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