When a patient with a heart defect walks into a hospital’s heart center clinic, the unknown can be somewhat unsettling for the child and their parents. In an effort to help children with heart problems better understand their diagnosis and potential treatment options, we have created a series of animated videos geared towards a young viewer. The one-of-a kind animations will cover the wide range of conditions and procedures related to childhood heart disease.
The 4- to 7-minute videos, produced in Australia by my friend and animator Michael Liddy, are set in a hospital room modeled after ours at Texas Children’s. The stars of the animations are Ruby, an armadillo with long, thick eyelashes, and Beau, a kind bison, who identify a problem with a child’s heart and call in their friends, the Blings, to help explain what’s happening and how the issue is affecting the heart. The tangerine-colored Blings quickly hop in and out of colorful cars and use a multitude of tools to remedy the issue.
The launch of this exciting project has been years in the making and I’m thrilled to release the first set of videos during Heart Month. When the series is complete, there will be nearly 40 videos available to help educate families, especially children, about complex heart conditions.
When parents of patients at Texas Children’s Heart Center and across the country search for additional approaches to help explain a diagnosis and treatment plan to their child, I hope these animation videos will serve as an indispensable resource for them. I believe that if we can empower patients through information, we can likely improve their treatment outcome and overall quality of life.
The animation videos are generously funded through a grant from ExxonMobil. To learn more and to watch the videos, visit www.texaschildrens.org/hearteducation.