MUSC The Catalyst
MUSC arial view


MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Catalyst Advertisers Seminars and Events Research Studies Public Relations Research Grants Catalyst PDF File MUSC home page Community Happenings Campus News Applause

MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Catalyst Advertisers Seminars and Events Research Studies Public Relations Research Grants MUSC home page Community Happenings Campus News Applause


Holiday cards celebrate survival

by Dawn Brazell
Public Relations
At first, it’s the adorable children’s art that draws the eye. But it’s the stories behind the art that really capture the warmth of the holiday season.

Chase Ringler, 6, contributed snowman art.

Take 6-year-old Chase Ringler, a pediatric oncology patient of MUSC’s Children’s Hospital, who drew a snowman for one of the cards in MUSC’s Children Hospital’s holiday card project. Life is very different for him now then it was in October 2007, when he was 3 and received the diagnosis of Stage 4 neuroblastoma. He underwent surgery to remove the tumor and had eight rounds of high-dose chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, 14 rounds of radiation and other treatments.

His mother, Whitney, said her son showed tremendous strength and courage throughout the treatments. Chase currently is off treatment and shows no evidence of disease. “He continues to warm the hearts of everyone with his smile and laughter.”

Now his art is doing the same. It’s a way the family can give back.

“We are incredibly thankful to all the doctors and nurses at MUSC Children’s Hospital,” she said. “They are amazing doctors and researchers who won’t stop until there is a cure for this deadly and aggressive cancer.  We thank them and God every day for the miracle they have given back to us—our son.”
Each year the MUSC Children’s Hospital Fund teams up with young patients and their siblings, local businesses and individuals to raise money for the MUSC Children’s Hospital through the Kids Helping Kids holiday card project. Children, many of whom were former patients, and their friends lend their artistic talents to make the holiday cards. The $15 packs have 100 percent of the proceeds going back to the children’s hospital.

Aiden El-Mereebi, the son of a children’s hospital nurse coordinator, drew this penguin.

Last year, the project raised $60,000 for research and programs at the Children’s Hospital. This year 18 artists have their artwork featured in two multipacks of holiday cards that are on sale now through Dec. 31. Each pack contains 16 cards.
Mimi Dorman, associate director of special events with the Children’s Hospital Fund, said the program is unique and important to the hospital and community. To use art to raise funds and raise children’s spirits is a win-win situation, she said.

“I believe it is therapeutic. Many of these kids are very appreciative of the care they received while being treated here at MUSC, and they want to give back. This program allows them to do so in a very unique way. It also allows them to shine by having their artwork spread cheer throughout the community.”
It also lets them celebrate the good in their lives, such as the winner of this year’s card of the season, Peyton Stokes.

Peyton Stokes, 10, is a former NNICU patient. Her artwork was voted card of the season.

Stokes, 10, is a former patient of the MUSC Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She was born nine weeks prematurely and weighed just 2.2 pounds at birth. She was on a ventilator for about two weeks and had three blood transfusions, but otherwise just needed time to grow. Staying at MUSC for two months, she was released one week prior to her original due date.

Peyton, whom is described as “soft spoken and super sweet,” is now a 4th grader at Mason Preparatory School, who loves art, reading, being with friends, tennis and gymnastics.

Hana Dorman, 15, a former NNICU patient, drew a festive scene from the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.

It’s similar to the story of Dorman’s own daughter, Hana, who was born on Sept. 7, 1995, weighing 2.2 pounds and being only 13 inches long. She was 13 weeks premature and had a long list of health problems. Her most severe problem was her lungs, which were not fully developed so she couldn’t breathe on her own. She received the maximum dosage of surfactant before her lungs would work, but even then she remained intubated for eight days. Dorman said her daughter remained on oxygen for another 3 ½ months, even after doctors were able to remove her breathing tube. Then she faced rigorous physical therapy to just gain enough strength to do simple things such as rolling over and sitting up. No one would know that by looking at her vibrant art of the Cooper River Bridge.

“Today, Hana is a happy and healthy 15- year-old, sassy teenager,” said her mom. “She loves art, soccer, her friends and her family. But without the incredible doctors, nurses, therapists and child life specialists at MUSC, Hana would not be here. We are forever grateful for this hospital and know we are so blessed to have it in our backyard. After our wonderful experience there 15 years ago, I knew I would one day help to make a difference by working here someday.”

Gabrielle Hadley, 16, is the sister of a patient.

To see more cards or to make a purchase, visit

Friday, Dec. 3, 2010

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.