Cats Help Teen Cancer Patient Heal

Studies have shown that animals can help sick patients heal. But what do you do when a patient is in quarantine, unable to receive visits from the animals they love? Teenage cancer patient Maga Barzallo Sockemtickem was prohibited from seeing her pet cat Merry, so Seattle Children’s Hospital visiting artist John Blalock decided to help satisfy her kitty cravings. Blalock had helped create awesome artworks and installations for patients around the hospital, and for Maga, he made an immersive cat show. Blalock first collected cat photos from hospital workers, and then took to the Internet to get additional pictures of cute kitties. More than 3,000 images poured in, and Blalock made a cat-filled presentation for Maga, complete with purring sounds. On July 25, Maga reveled in more than 1,800 cat images, specially selected by Blalock.

“It was a big surprise, how big a response I got,” says Barzallo Sockemtickem. “But I think it was the simpleness of it all. People love cats; animals make us happy.” [NPR]