January 31, 2018

On today's show, Adrian talks with Greg Harrell–Edge, the Executive Director of the Los Angeles nonprofit "CoachArt", a wonderful organization offering free art and athletic lessons to chronically ill children and their siblings between the ages of 5-18.


“A nation is only as healthy as its children.”  -  Harry Truman (1946)

Approximately 27% of U.S. children live with chronic health conditions that can affect their daily lives and normal activities. These maladies often contribute greatly to school absenteeism and require continual medical attention.

Many studies suggest chronic health problems, along with learning and developmental disorders, appear to be on the rise. 


A Few Facts to Consider:

• Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children.  Every day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer.

• Congenital Heart Defects (CHDs) affect nearly 1% of―or about 40,000―births per year in the United States.

• New cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are increasing among youth in the United States.  About 15,000 children are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes each year.  Type 2 diabetes in children is on the rise, fueled largely by the obesity epidemic and has grown from less than 5 percent in 1994 to about 20 percent of all newly diagnosed cases.

• 1 in 68 children are affected by autism.

• 1 in 6 children has a developmental disability.

This brings us to today's interview. 

Art Makes a Difference!
Art Makes a Difference!

Over 1 million children in California suffer from a chronic condition.

CoachArt is a 501(c)3 organization here in LA working to create a transformative arts and athletics community for families impacted by childhood chronic illness.  @coachart

In 2001, Coach Art began providing services at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. In 2011, the organization expanded into the San Francisco Bay Area in partnership with Children’s Hospital Oakland.  

Today, CoachArt offers free, high-quality arts and athletics activities to 1,000 children — including not only chronically ill children but also their siblings, who are often neglected due to the needs of the other child.

CoachArt children have chronic, physical illnesses and conditions that require ongoing treatment. These are children living with arthritis, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, heart disease, HIV, kidney failure, Spina Bifida, craniofacial anomalies and various orthopedic disabilities, among other conditions.  Not all chronic illnesses are accompanied by physical symptoms, and many times CoachArt kids look and act just like their healthy siblings.

Adrian visited Coach Art earlier this month and sat down with Greg Harrell–Edge, the Executive Director to talk about their work in the community.

Cards for Hospitalized Kids
Cards for Hospitalized Kids

On today's Hero of the Week segment, we look back at an earlier episode to a friend we first met on our April 24, 2013 show. She's Jen Rubino, and her own experiences with multiple hospitalizations and surgeries inspired her to found Cards for Hospitalized Kids(CFHK) to spread hope, joy, and magic to hospitalized kids across America through handmade cards sent by kids and groups from around the globe. 

As the founder of CFHK, Jen is able to combine her own experience as a patient and her desire to help others in a way that allows her to help children across America who are facing what she has faced.  Together with help from individuals and groups across the U.S., Cards for Hospitalized Kids is impacting thousands of hospitalized kids.  Lifting others up through CFHK has allowed Jen to lift herself up as well and, chronic illness or not, she knows it will be the same for everyone who gets involved with CFHK.

CFHK continues to grow and the number of cards that they receive grows every year.  In 2016, they celebrated their five year anniversary.

Jen is now a junior studying International Affairs at George Washington University (GWU) in DC.