SPOKANE, Wash. - Picking the perfect pallette comes naturally for Cory Garcia. But the middle school student from Pasco didn't always love art.
"In third grade, I hated art," Garcia said.
That changed when she had to come to Sacred Heart Children's Hospital for leg surgery a few years ago. Doctors removed a leg tumor. She spent weeks in the hospital. Garcia still has to return to Spokane for procedures and check ups.
But Garcia doesn't totally dread a trip to the hospital. That's because she gets to spend time creating art.
Ann Walker is the coordinator for the Arts in Healing program at Sacred Heart. She said it's a popular therapy for kids.
"We bring the fun," Walker said.
Children and their families at the hospital are exposed to art projects, music, even virtual reality, according to Walker.
She said it's a fun way to help kids like Garcia feel better. Studies have proved it really works.
"If they get creative and expressive, then they'll better deal with being in the hospital and being sick," Walker said.
Programs like this are becoming more common across the country. Walker said Sacred Heart Children's Hospital has offered this for about 10 years.
"We are just trying to offer kids as many ways to get creative as possible," Walker said.
These are projects the entire family can enjoy at the hospital. Garcia said it's helped her learn to love art and it created a special bond between her and her big sister.
"It's like something that comes through the family, so that's something I like doing and my siblings like doing, too," Garcia said.
With each one of Garcia's colorful creations comes an important reminder.
"Smile every day and never give up," Garcia said.
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