Shaukat Khanum Child Patients join Forces with NASA

The end of 2017 marked one more first for us, as Shaukat Khanum Hospital hosted the Pakistan leg of a unique collaboration between children in hospitals around the world and NASA Johnson Space Centre. For the Space Suit Art project, our child patients (as well as their family members and hospital staff) hand-painted decorative, fabric swatches which will be stitched together to create a spacesuit for NASA astronauts. For the Postcards to Space project, patients painted beautiful postcards, planned to be projected on board the space station in an electronic art display.

Watch the Special Message by Astronaut Nicole Stott for paediatric cancer patients receiving treatment at Shaukat Khanum Hospital.

The Spacesuit Art and Postcards to Space projects aren’t just a worthy initiative to raise awareness of childhood cancer. They’re also a way to help child patients cope with the stress of treatment through creativity, and regain a sense of confidence and self-esteem. It goes hand in hand with the counselling, play therapy and support groups we provide at Shaukat Khanum Hospital, which aim to deal with the psychological issues that arise as a side-effect of prolonged treatment. It also helps to maintain a positive morale among patients, which is key to recovery.

Watch the video of Shaukat Khanum child patients participating in the Spacesuit Art and Postcards to Space projects.

Just a few years ago, the stigma associated with cancer in Pakistan was so great that many patients at Shaukat Khanum Hospital weren’t comfortable about disclosing their identity. Today, our child patients are so proud of their fight against cancer, they’re participating in activities that will leave a mark in space history. That to us is proof that we have come a long way in the fight against cancer. Together we can achieve so much, with the will of Allah (swt), through courage, hope and unity.

Thank you for helping us keep the morale high and the hope alive. You can find out more about Play Therapy and the counselling we offer to paediatric patients at Shauat Khanum Hospital. If you would like to support the treatment of a child patient at Shaukat Khanum Hospital, find our more through our Support a Patient appeal. 

Both the Spacesuit Art project and the Postcards to Space project were only made possible through the collaboration of international astronauts and cosmonauts; NASA Johnson Space Center and International Space Station partners; as well as the spacesuit company ILC Dover and Space Center Houston.

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