By Sandra Bretting
Throughout her life, hospital supporter Mary Wolff has shared her love of creative dance with children. Whether teaching at St. John’s School in Houston or instructing students at an international school in Geneva, she’s taught them to express themselves through creative movement.
Five years ago, Wolff began volunteering with young cancer patients at Texas Children’s Hospital, bringing her love of dance and creative visualization to those who sometimes need it most: children facing illness and injury.
“When I first started volunteering, I was never sure what I’d find on the other side of a patient’s door,” Wolff said. “Would they be happy to see me? Would they be willing to let me work with them? Turns out the children enjoyed the chance to experience creative movement. Even the parents were happy to have this outlet. What surprised me was how the parents seemed to enjoy it almost as much as the children.”
After volunteering, Wolff would return home to her husband, David, a major commercial land developer in Texas, and share stories from her day. Inspired by her love for the hospital and its patients, David surprised his wife by donating $100,000 to the Arts in Medicine program at Texas Children’s Cancer Center.
Through the Arts in Medicine program, children have the opportunity to make music, sing songs, perform dance, write stories, and enjoy other creative outlets that bolster their self-esteem and confidence. The goal is to improve their immediate environment, which ultimately will improve their treatment experience.
“Sometimes the children don’t feel like participating, and that’s okay,” Wolff said. “As a parent, I think I’ve become sensitive to how children are feeling and how they express themselves when they’re under stress.”
In addition to supporting the Arts in Medicine program, the Wolffs have generously donated some of the land for the new Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, which opened recently in Katy. In honor of their support, the hospital has named the West Campus emergency center after the couple.
“We felt that having a first-rate medical center available to people who live outside of Houston was needed,” Wolff said. “We’ve been blessed by our experience with Texas Children’s Hospital, and these are two of the ways that we can share that with others.”