Nurse creates magical moments to lift patients’ spirits

Natalie Sanchez knows that entering a treatment center like MD Anderson for the first time can be very intimidating for a newly diagnosed cancer patient. “Most patients bring family members or friends along for support,” says Sanchez, a nurse manager at MD Anderson West Houston. “But now that MD Anderson has adopted a ‘no visitors’ policy to protect patients from the coronavirus, they’re having to go to appointments alone. It's sad to see them walk through the door by themselves.” Sidewalk notes provide encouragement during coronavirus pandemic Sanchez and her co-workers have devised some creative ways to lift patients’ spirits and lessen their anxieties during the COVID-19 pandemic.   Take, for instance, the colorful sidewalk chalk creations that greet patients before they enter the building. Some drawings are whimsical, like the bumble bee with the “bee happy” message, or the bright yellow star that urges patients to “keep shining.” Others offer notes of encouragement printed in block letters, like “stay strong,” or simply, “hope.” Sanchez and business manager Jacque Andrepont were the first to decorate the sidewalk, with help from their spouses and children. Now, others are pitching in. “Our patients love it,” Sanchez says. “They go out of their way not to step on the drawings.” The artwork has inspired some patients to paint rocks with encouraging messages like “never give up,” and “spread kindness,” which they place in the hospital’s colorful gardens. “Small things can turn into beautiful moments,” Sanchez says. One of several rocks painted by patients, who were inspired by the chalk art at MD Anderson West Houston. Creativity gets family included in bell ringing...