Every day 12-year-old Bella underwent chemotherapy for the year she spent at Baystate Children’s Hospital, Elizabeth Slade, her mother, painted beautiful works of art dedicated to Bella and to team members in the Infants and Children’s Unit.
Slade recalls how Bella’s primary nurse, Jackie Nicholson, RN, helped Bella be as independent as possible during this time and involved Bella in her care for an aggressive form of cancer. Nicholson engaged Bella in different ways and even baked a strawberry cake for her. When Bella started losing her hair she became discouraged and disheartened. Child Life Specialists Betsy Arseneau and Sarah Framarin arranged for someone to shave Bella’s head and draw henna art on her head. Another staff member did a photo shoot of Bella and the art work on her head. This helped Bella embrace her new look and feel special.
“When Bella passed away, every member of that floor came upstairs and beautifully and respectfully offered their condolences and said goodbye to Bella. They are a really special crew,” says Slade.
Slade donated Bella’s favorite painting to the unit, a beautiful painting of a tree. The painting is hanging outside of room 52 in the Infants and Children’s Unit at Baystate Medical Center where Bella lived for a year.
There will be a gallery opening with Elizabeth Slade’s paintings on Friday, January 15, 6-7 p.m., Daly Building, MRI Corridor of Baystate Medical Center, where the paintings will be on display until the first week of March.