Dell Children’s Medical Center has a new addition – a Heroes’ Exit! Ready for a great story? You may have heard of Owen Coulter, a 5 year old boy who went to Dell Children’s Medical in December of 2019 and had a miraculous journey that included a life-saving experience by staff upon his arrival. Owen’s father is a firefighter in Austin. As Owen left the hospital after a 56 day stay, there was a “superhero” departure celebration with dozens of firefighters, police officers, 18 fire trucks, balloons, t-shirts, and even a few costumed super-heroes. The experience was wonderful for everyone there, but especially the hero being celebrated, Owen.
Days later a Dell Medical Children’s Medical Center Foundation board member dropped by the office of Susan Hewlitt (executive director of the foundation). The board member, Marcella Maxwell (who also works at Dell Children’s) said that she couldn’t stop thinking about the wonderful exit Owen had. “How can we have every child feel like a hero when they leave?” she thought out loud. They quickly began brainstorming and walking the hospital for ideas.
At the entryway of the hospital is the HEB Auditorium, which happens to be a perfect passageway and private exit for the kids. Susan immediately went to this spot and an idea came to her for a “hero’s exit” – what if they had a mural here and kids could take pictures as they were released to go home? The idea was positively received by the foundation board, and Susan could not have been more pleased with their unanimous agreement to support the project. The next question was who the artist would be – Susan knew that Becca Borrelli would be perfect!
Becca had designed a coloring book for the kids at Dell Children’s. Becca is an illustrator and has a background in teaching. For Becca this was the perfect project- it combined her love of children with her passion for design. Becca began to weave a compilation of happy imagery from areas in the hospital, making the final memories in the hospital a way to remember Dell Children’s in a positive way.
The final product is a brightly colored mural printed on DreamScape wallpaper. Images include a StarFlight helicopter, the stone water wall from the courtyard, a replication of the donor butterfly wall, and spotlights on art found in the hospital such as the art by Graciela Boulanger gracing the bridge in the lobby as well as the blue dog featured in a George Rodrigue piece found in the hospital.
Becca contacted Miller after having printed with us before. The experience was pleasant for Becca and it was easy to communicate with Destenie (Customer Sales and Service Rep) from the beginning. Becca had been contracted to paint the mural on the wall, but had worked with DreamScape in another hospital setting and knew that it holds up to cleaning and is long-lasting. “DreamScape was the perfect solution we didn’t know we needed, especially with how clean we have to keep it,” said Susan Hewitt.
As the final joyful touch to this fulfilling project, note that it was accomplished during COVID! Installing the piece during this difficult time made it an even happier win!