October 17, 2008
PACT families featured in unqiue exhibit

viewing a portraitThe Boston Children's Museum recently opened a moving exhibit featuring photographs taken by nine children whose parents are undergoing cancer treatment at the MGH Cancer Center. The parents are participants in the Marjorie E. Korff PACT (Parenting at a Challenging Time) Program at the MGH, directed by Paula Rauch, MD, of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Service. The PACT Program at the MGH offers support to parents receiving cancer treatment by working with them to develop a plan to support their child's continued healthy development.

PORTRAIT OF A LADY: Cancer patient Sarah Snyder views the portrait taken by her 12-year-old daughter Kate Smith.

During the summer, several PACT Program children between the ages of 11 and 18 were given cameras and taught basic black-and-white photography skills by professional photographer Paul Denckla of the Young Photographers Initiative project. The children captured portraits reflecting their parents' personality and love, showing that beauty could come even under the most trying circumstances. They then wrote about their experiences and the sentiments they were trying to capture. Parents also wrote about the time they spent posing for their sons or daughters, explaining what they learned about their children through the process. These captions accompany the photographs along with a portrait of the parent and child together taken by Denckla.

"We know that families can stay healthy when a parent is seriously ill," says Rauch. "And one important way is to engage in fun and interesting family activities, like the portrait photography of Project Tomorrow. The project led to engaging conversations and created lasting and meaningful memories."

The exhibit currently is open to the public at the Boston ChildrenÕs Museum and will be on display through Nov. 5. 

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