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EdVenture creates a special place for kids with chronic health conditions

The Celebration Circle was designed to honor pediatric patients, their families, and caretakers as part of the museum’s mission of inclusion and accessibility for all.

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The color-changing LED lights outside of the bell-ringing nook allow this space to be representative of all childhood illnesses.

Photo provided by EdVenture Children’s Museum

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In honor of National Childhood Cancer and Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month, EdVenture is unveiling a new, special place inside the museum — Celebration Circle — and it opens today.

Celebration Circle honors Prisma Health Children’s Hospital patients who face chronic health conditions, their families, and the healthcare professionals who dedicate their lives to helping these children. Here’s how:

The bell-ringing area

This ceremony is open to all patients who face chronic health conditions, regardless of where they are in the journey or in treatment. Read: It’s not just for those who have completed treatment.

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For children who are unable to physically ring the bell, EdVenture’s exhibits team created a bell-ringing button that can be pushed and will sound the bell remotely, an accessible element that allows Celebration Circle to be inclusive for all.

Photo provided by EdVenture Children’s Museum

“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.”

The memory wall

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

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Tying in with EdVenture’s mission of workforce exploration, the museum has also created a kiosk visitors can scroll through to explore healthcare careers.

“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,” explains Lloyd McDonald, Director of Facilities at EdVenture.

EdVenture also hopes the exposure, awareness, and understanding of childhood cancer and sickle cell disease will help promote kindness, inclusion, and acceptance of others, regardless of what types of challenges they may face.

“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, 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,” explains Owen. “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.”

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The retractable bell comes down during a patient’s bell-ringing ceremony — the movable arm allows the bell to be lowered to the height of the child and put away during non-ceremony time.

Photo provided by EdVenture Children’s Museum

Says Kelsey Carter, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Camp Cole, “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. 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.”

How visitors can experience Celebration Circle

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

Plan your visit to EdVenture.

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