4 Star Chicagoan uses magic to help kids in hospitals

CHICAGO -- This week's 4-Star-Chicagoan, David Schmidt, stopped by to tell us about 'Open Heart Magic', an organization that is helping sick children in Chicago hospitals get through scary and stressful times with the help of a little magic.

Open Heart Magic uses the therapeutic power of magic and laughter to energize and strengthen seriously ill children in Chicago area hospitals, and aid their healing. They work with 10 Chicagoland hospitals, as well as hospitals in Ann Arbor and Cleveland. Their personalized interactions help children feel special, more confident and empowered during a scary and stressful time. 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.

The Hospital Magicians offer more than just "a show." They work one-on-one with children, using magic as a means to encourage participation, engage the imagination, and help these kids find their own sense of confidence and mastery as they learn to perform the tricks for their doctors, families and friends. Magicians are able to work with kids of all ages, regardless of physical or developmental restrictions. They offer support to kids who are in for a one-time ER visit, as well as patients undergoing long-term treatment for conditions such as pediatric cancer, childhood diabetes, heart problems, and pediatric heart transplants.

For kids undergoing medical treatment, magic has therapeutic value. According to research in education, social work, and psychology, it is a beneficial tool for gaining trust, decreasing tension, and establishing rapport when working with children and adolescents. Magic enhances patients' cognitive functions, perception, neuromuscular and motivational skills. Magic is an innovative technique for reaching children who are scared, isolated and resistant to other forms of therapy. Magic is a means for utilizing the powerful benefits of humor and laughter both for the young patients and also their siblings and families who are undergoing some of the most stressful moments of their lives.

More on Open Heart Magic: www.openheartmagic.org
Event Info: www.openheartmagic.org/windycitylive