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Support the Antonia J. Giallourakis Endowed Fund in Art Therapy for Children with Cancer

The Antonia J. Giallourakis Endowed Fund in Art Therapy for Children with Cancer at the Mass General For Children Cancer Center was established with a grant from the Children’s Art For Children’s Cancer Foundation, Inc., in December 2012.

The mission of the Children’s Art For Children’s Cancer Foundation (CACCF) was to support art therapy for children with cancer undergoing treatment at hospital cancer centers and to educate and empower children to create and publish art that will benefit and support children facing cancer and other life-threatening diseases. By establishing the Antonia J. Giallourakis Endowed Fund, the foundation has passed the baton on to the art therapy program team at the Mass General For Children (MGfC).

This change to an endowed fund at Mass General ensures that the healing power of art will remain available to children and families fighting cancer. Antonia’s “torch” will burn on. Learn more about the art therapy program at the MGfC Cancer Center.

The CACCF board of trustees and officers ask that you provide your loyal CACCF generosity, in remembrance of Antonia’s mission for helping children with cancer, to the MGfC Cancer Center. On behalf of children, who benefit currently and in the future from your continued generous support, we offer you our gratitude and thanks.

Celebrating the Establishment of the Antonia J. Giallourakis Endowed Fund

Representatives from CACCF and the MGfC Cancer Center came together on December 14, 2012 to celebrate the establishment of the Antonia J. Giallourakis Endowed Fund in Art Therapy for Children with Cancer.

Additionally, CACCF donated 200 activity books and 200 ABC’s coloring books prepared by students for use by pediatric cancer patients and printed by Mercersburg Press.

Loveable Lumpy Sea Creatures

1. The Cat
2. The King – In the Sea Creature Gallery
3. The Giraffe
4. The Moose
5. The Butler – In the Sea Creature Gallery
6. Turkeypus – In the Sea Creature Gallery
7. The Elephant
8. Piggy
9. Lioness – In the Sea Creature Gallery
10. The Snail
11. Toucan – In the Sea Creature Gallery
12. Butterfly
13. The Fox – In the Sea Creature Gallery

The Loveable Lumpy Sea Creatures Gallery, in tribute to creator Antonia J. Giallourakis, is on display in the Center for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology in the Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care. Antonia and CACCF are acknowledged by a plaque that reads:

These wonderful “Loveable Lumpy Sea Creatures” are the conception of Antonia J. Giallourakis, a cancer patient, artist, teacher and mother. Mrs. Giallourakis was the founder of the Children’s Art for Children’s Cancer Foundation. The foundation’s mission was to motivate and empower children to create art to support children who have cancer and other life- threatening illness. Children became “Art Pal Heroes” by creating artwork which was then distributed to sick children and the facilities that care for them.

The “Loveable Lumpy Sea Creatures” were created by the 8th grade art students at Shrewsbury Borough School in Shrewsbury, New Jersey in 2004. These beautiful pieces of art were donated to the Center for Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.

In 2012, Children’s Art For Children’s Cancer Foundation established by grant the Antonia J. Giallourakis Endowed Fund in Art Therapy for Children with Cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital.

About Antonia J. Giallourakis

“The power of visual images has had a profound impact on me as a three-time cancer survivor, artist and teacher.” – Antonia J. Giallourakis, 1944-2004

Antonia J. Giallourakis, BS, MAT, MFA, Founding President, Trustee and First Chairman of the Board of Children’s Art For Children’s Cancer Foundation, Inc.

In Memoriam 2004: Antonia, a cancer survivor, retired in 1998 after more than 20 years of teaching preschool through 9th grade. Although she had taught reading and language arts as well as academically gifted students, she spent most of her career teaching art, both in Europe and the United States. While teaching, Antonia received the A+ for Teacher Award and also represented her school as the Teacher of the Year for New Jersey. She was a graduate of the University of Nebraska, George Washington University, and Monmouth University. The author and recipient of several educational grants, Antonia also co-authored and illustrated the desktop-published book, Discovery Through Architecture, Eyes on Insects, an Interdisciplinary Teaching Guide.

Antonia’s motivation for founding the Children’s Art For Children’s Cancer Foundation, Inc., came after she realized that having cancer is a gift of time. She decided to use her passion for working with children and the visual arts to help others. Antonia authored, tested, and refined the Hero Approach Lesson Plan pre-Sept. 11, 2001. This service learning approach, using drawing, is even more relevant post-Sept. 11, 2001.

As an artist, Antonia enjoyed water colors and egg tempera, a 15th century, Russian, Byzantine technique. She ventured into iconography more than 30 years ago while studying for her Master of Fine Arts. When she lived and traveled in Europe she studied under the renowned master iconographer, Vadislav Andrejev. Her icons are found in private collections and she has also donated some for philanthropic purposes.

Antonia served as a stellar example to numerous Art Pal Heroes, to the art teachers of New Jersey and to her community as well as family. Her legacy continues in the foundation she founded and now in the Antonia J. Giallourakis Endowed Fund in Art Therapy for Children with Cancer at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children Cancer Center.

Art Therapy at MGfC Cancer Center

Mass General is unique because it is has a trained art therapist who provides services to children and families. The art therapist offers emotional support as patients and families express themselves creatively. At times, this can lead to the unearthing of emotions related to experiences with illness.

Art therapy can have a tremendous impact on the well-being of patients of all ages and with many types of illnesses. This is particularly true for children with cancer. Art therapy can help younger cancer patients better cope with their illness by reducing stress and anxiety, decreasing side effects such as nausea, assisting with pain management, increasing self-esteem, encouraging movement and providing an outlet to express their feelings.

Art therapy has been an important component of the care provided at the MGfC Cancer Center for the past eight years. It is popular in outpatient treatment settings, such as during chemotherapy infusion at the Center for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology as well as for treatments at the Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center. Art therapy helps distract patients from pain, uncomfortable side-effects and boredom. When appropriate, the therapist also works with the siblings of patients. Recently, the MGfC Cancer Center expanded the art therapy services to the inpatient pediatric unit, including cancer patients on isolation, to provide better care across the medical continuum of needs.

Art therapy uses various forms of art-making including painting, collage and clay, as well as poetry and journaling, in a supportive setting to facilitate creative self-expression that is healing and life-enhancing. In a session with an individual, the art therapist discusses and listens to a patient’s comments regarding the creative process and the finished piece of artwork. In a group workshop setting, the therapist works with family members and friends of patients and they discuss their art.

Some patients may already have experience with art so the therapist works with them to encourage this expression. For many young patients, this is their first introduction to art. Some connect on a deep level and art becomes part of their life.