MURALS HELP MAKE HOSPITAL A MCHAPPY PLACE

By: Tiffany Persaud
January 14, 2008
There are fish, sea-horses, turtles, raccoons, owls and squirrels on the walls at Trillium Health Centre Mississauga. These “distractions on the walls” were made possible by a $25,000 donation from McDonald’s restaurants in Mississauga. The money was used to create cheerful murals for children in the pediatrics waiting areas.

Jane Gildner, Health System Manager for children’s health at Trillium, said emergency wait rooms are “a potentially scary place” and that the murals help to make them “more interesting and fun” for children awaiting treatment.

Today, the Trillium Health Centre Foundation recognized McDonald’s shop owners with honourary plaques for their donations, which were raised thanks to the annual fundraising initiative known as McHappy Days, which took place last May.

Accompanied by the artist, Susy Bleasby, the owners were given a tour of the facilities where the child-friendly murals now appear. Bleasby’s work can be seen in other healthcare facilities, including the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. The Etobicoke native knows exactly how to brighten a room.

“Once people see what kind of difference it makes, requests snowball; they want more and more,” Bleasby said of her colourful murals.
Bleasby spent her summer holiday painting in the Emergency Care Centre, which received an underwaterl-themed makeover, as well as the Day Surgery area, where woodland creatures decorate the walls.

Dung Do, area supervisor for McDonald’s in Mississauga and Brampton, said he believes the paintings on the walls create a more comforting atmosphere for children who are admitted to hospital. “I think it takes away their anxieties when they come in here and are away from home; the paintings help take their all their worries away,” Do said.

The Fracture Clinic, currently under construction at Trillium, will also receive a mural makeover. Gildner said that without the McHappy Day donation, there would not have been “an opportunity to do this special thing. The murals bring the walls to life. It draws everybody in; the patients, their moms and dads, and the staff. It brings pleasure and smiles to us all.”