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Star Wars-themed PGH clinic comforts children with cancer

February 16, 2019 - Saturday 1:02 PM by MDM

In the face of adversity, pediatric cancer patients manage to smile as they step into the newly-renovated Star Wars themed-Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Pediatric Hematology-Oncology clinic at the Cancer Institute.

The facility was renovated due to lack of facilities conducive for healing.

PGH Cancer Institute Pediatric Hematology-Oncology section head Dr. Ana Patricia Alcasabas in a statement said Globe Telecom and its partners donated P1.4 million to fund the facility’s refurbishment as PGH don’t have enough budget.

“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),” Alcasabas said. “After visiting other hospitals, even here in the Philippines, I saw the need to renovate our outpatient clinic. However, it seemed impossible as we did not have any budget for this.”

She said the out-patient clinic serves up to 400 children with cancer each month. The most common diagnosis are leukemia, brain tumors, eye cancer and bone cancer. Of the number, 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 were scared when they come to the clinic because of the injections). We wanted a clinic environment that promotes well being and positive energy,” she said.

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.

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BEHIND THE PROJECT. (From left) 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

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 the unfortunate children and encouraged the public to help via donations through prepaid load or charges to their postpaid bill.

JEDI LOOK. Luke Skywalker’s cubicle for checkups and consultations.

“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,” Yoly Crisanto, Globe Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications said.

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.

YODA OR CHEWBACCA? Dividers providing privacy to the consultation rooms.

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.

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.

Alcasabas said they are happy to see the smiles on the children’s faces when they get inside 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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