EdVenture Creates a Special Place for Kids with Chronic Health Conditions

EdVenture’s new bell-ringing corner was created to honor pediatric hospital patients, their families, and caretakers as part of the museum’s mission of inclusion and accessibility for all.

COLUMBIA, S.C., September 25, 2023 – A cancer diagnosis is tough for any family to face, but when the diagnosis is given to a child, it is especially heartbreaking. In honor of National Childhood Cancer and Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month, EdVenture is unveiling a special place inside the museum, called Celebration Circle. Celebration Circle is an area that is dedicated to honoring Prisma Health Children’s Hospital patients who face chronic health conditions and healthcare workers. It celebrates these patients, their families, and the healthcare professionals who dedicate their lives to improving the quality of life for these children.

Celebration Circle’s purpose is two-fold. The first is to honor the bravery of these patients. Inside Celebration Circle, EdVenture has created a special bell that patients and their families can ring to celebrate their journey. The bell-ringing ceremony is not just for children who have completed treatment; it is open to all patients who face chronic health conditions, regardless of where they are in the journey or in treatment.

“It is incredibly hard to watch a family witness other kids ringing the bell to signify the end of treatment, knowing that their child might never have that opportunity,” explains Stuart Cramer, D.O., Medical Director of the Gamecocks Curing Kids Cancer Clinic for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital. “That is why we were so thrilled for this opportunity to partner with EdVenture to create a space that is inclusive and welcoming for all children who face this journey—no matter where they are in treatment.”

In addition to ringing the bell, patients and their families are invited to sign a memory wall that commemorates their celebration of the journey.

“A topic like childhood cancer or having sickle cell disease is surrounded by grief and sadness,” says Andy Marquart, EdVenture’s CEO. “And while that is often the case, there are other aspects of the journey that deserve celebration. As you’ll hear in the videos from the healthcare workers at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital, each day, small treatment milestones, and medical research discoveries are all cause for celebration for these kids and their families. And that is why we created Celebration Circle.”

Those healthcare workers featured in the Celebration Circle are the second purpose of the area. In an effort to tie in with EdVenture’s mission of workforce exploration, EdVenture highlights careers in pediatric healthcare.

“We created a kiosk that kids and their parents can scroll through to explore healthcare careers and listen to folks in those roles,” explains Lloyd McDonald, Director of Facilities at EdVenture. “We hope it humanizes the healthcare career choice for kids by exposing them to stories of everyday people who work in that field, right here in our own community.”

Additionally, EdVenture hopes the exposure, awareness, and understanding of childhood cancer and sickle cell disease destigmatizes childhood illnesses and promotes kindness, inclusion, and acceptance of others regardless of what types of challenges they may face in life.

“This effort is a very important part of raising awareness of the need for research, which will result in more effective and less toxic treatments, and will save the lives of children with cancer,” says Gráinne Owen. She is the co-founder and President of Curing Kids Cancer, which funded the Prisma Children’s Hospital Gamecocks Curing Kids Cancer Clinic. “Having lost my own son to cancer at age nine, my hope is that more communities will come together to support these efforts to provide better treatments when they’re needed. You never think this ugly disease can affect your children…until it does. Community support like this is essential if our children are to be able to go on to live long, healthy, and happy lives.”

Celebration Circle is being unveiled for the first time to a small group of Prisma Health Children’s Hospital families who have lost their children in the fight against cancer and sickle cell disease.

“What an incredibly moving experience this will be for families who never got the opportunity to ring the bell or acknowledge the journey that their loved one faced,” says Kelsey Carter, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Camp Cole. “Cancer can take a toll on the whole family. What a special place this will be to allow these individuals a moment of reflection and joy during a time of challenging obstacles.”

Celebration Circle’s bell-ringing will continuously be utilized as private ceremonies for patients and families. The area, however, will be open to the public to learn about the pediatric healthcare careers and for educational awareness about childhood illnesses. Celebration Circle will officially open to the public on Wednesday, September 27, 2023.