Dr. Michele Harvey-Blankenship was surprised to see a powerful link to her family when she stepped off the elevator for her first visit to the Child Health Clinic at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital. Hanging on a wall outside the clinic is a larger than life-sized mural her mother painted in 1986.
“I had no clue mom’s mural was there,” says Michele. “I saw it and thought, my mom is here!”
For Michele, who started working at the Grey Nuns hospital on June 15, the mural is a reminder of her family every time she heads into the clinic.
The painting takes Michele back to her childhood, her parents’ tenacity in going on a family sailing trip for a full year in the 1980s, and her mom’s commitment to the art she loves. Her father is also connected to the hospital as he served as an orthopedic surgeon before and after the sailing trip.
Michele’s mom, Maureen R. Harvey, donated the triptych (three part) mural, ‘Green Flash’ to the hospital in 1990 because her husband worked there, and to support a child clinic. Inspired by the family’s year-long sailing trip, the mural features an amalgamation of children they encountered.
“The painting is about the empowerment of love, dignity and respect. It allows the viewer to search for the impossible in the ordinary,” says Maureen.
She says the mural’s home outside the Child Health Clinic is a perfect fit.
“My hope is that the painting will be a stress reliever for the children and their caregivers who come to the clinic and to the staff who work there,” says Maureen. “I hope it lifts up the spirits of everyone who sees it.”
Michele and Maureen are grateful to the hospital for taking such good care of the painting and for finding it such an appropriate home.
Michele is working part-time as a general pediatrician at the Pediatrics for Kids in Care, also known as the foster care clinic. Her career has included work in international human rights, forensic pediatrics and general pediatrics with a focus on vulnerable and high risk families.
“I’m looking forward to continuing a multi-disciplinary approach to providing health care to children with complex needs,” says Michele.
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