“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ~Roald Dahl
Young children are surrounded by magic. Magic beans and carpets in fairy tales or the magic hug from a parent that can make things all better. However, for kids in the hospital, they may stop believing in magic because their parent cannot just make it better. Today’s organization is bringing magic to kids in the hospital.
In November of 2003, Mike Walton was a commodities trader who decided to become a volunteer at Rush Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. He performed close-up, slight-of-hand magic for patients. Soon he realized that magic offered the perfect vehicle to help kids by getting them involved with an interaction that excited and interested them. Mike developed techniques to harness the excitement associated with magic to help kids heal and feel better. Each trick allowed the kids to learn new skills and rediscover their sense of fun and laughter. The kids also conquered feelings of sadness, fear, and isolation that are common during a stay in the hospital. These are all things that help the children heal.
After some encouragement from hospital staff, patients, and patient families, Mike launched Open Heart Magic with a mission to use the therapeutic power of magic and laughter to energize and strengthen seriously ill children in Chicago area hospitals and to aid their healing. They strive to reach young patients one-by-one regardless of their disease, medical situation, or physical ability so that all children may benefit from this engaging and entertaining therapy.
With the launch of Open Heart Magic, Mike trained the first set of volunteer Hospital Magicians. These volunteers had no background in magic, but were interested in helping kids in hospitals. He took them through a 12 week course which is now the basis of the Introductory Training at the OHM Magic University. In 2004, Open Heart Magic became an officially registered 501c3 nonprofit organization.
The organization excels as engaging kids that have been difficult to reach and those who may not be able to participate in other activities due to their physical or medical restrictions. They recently launched a new magic program that allows them to even visit those children staying in isolation to protect them from infection. They are able to visit these children who are restricted from most visitors to show them the transforming power of magic, laughter, and joy.
How can you help?
Open Heart Magic has several opportunities to help their cause.
- You can volunteer as a Hospital Magician. You can find the volunteer application on their website.
- Run on the Miles for Magic Charity Running Team in the Chicago Marathon, Half Marathon or other race or personal challenge. You can learn more about their Miles for Magic program at MilesForMagic.org.
- You can also join the Open Heart Magic Professional Board to help promote awareness of the organization and serve as a catalyst for their growth. You can contact Ryan Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about this opportunity.
- You can also make a donation through the Open Heart Magic website.