Artful casts help give Seattle kids a boost
Seattle Children’s Hospital surgical tech Cyndy Gluck has found a new way to incorporate art into the art of healing by crafting small images to customize kids’ casts.
“It’s something that evolved unintentionally,” Gluck told Seattle TV station KING, saying that a doctor was about to put a cast on a distraught little boy. “And I said, ‘Well, what colors?’ And he said, ‘He wants blue and green’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, does he like the Seahawks?’ and he said ‘Yeah!’, so that’s kinda how it got started.”
Gluck crafts with coban—a type of bandage surgeons use for compression—which has a limited color range but is extremely pliable.
As the designated OR artist-inresidence, she has made everything from bunnies to Darth Vader and keeps a book stuffed with her creations for others to use on her days off. Her cast adornments are so popular that some children save them after their cast is removed. Nine-year-old Maggie Burke broke her elbow doing gymnastics and Gluck’s art showed a gymnast on a balance beam; the cast art now resides in a frame in her home.
Maggie recalls waking up to her custom cast: “You know, I was really scared, and with the artwork on it was like, oh my gosh that’s so cool!” It cheered Maggie’s mom Odilia as well: “We saw the artwork on it and, really, it was so touching. . . . She was very sad because she would be out of gymnastics for awhile. And just for someone to be that thoughtful . . . it was an inspiration.”
Cyndy Gluck customizes the cast art for each little patient.