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The Story Behind the Artwork: Healing Frogs Find Perfect Homes in Orange, Palo Alto & Chicago

When I think I can no longer cope - I cannot take another insulin injection, or endure another ambulance ride due to a low blood sugar - my "healing frog" reminds me of the possibilities. When I want to give up ... just be "normal" and pretend that I am not "different...special," my "healing frog" reminds me of the possibilities. I use the "healing frog" as a focal point of all that there is. The frog has no desire to snatch up the fly. He wants to live harmoniously, side by side ... making the world a better place.

Renae Jacob

(kidney & pancreas islet cell transplant recipient)


Close to 15 years ago I was asked to paint 4 large watercolor paintings of Frogs for the kitchen in the Ronald McDonald family apartment in the Children’s Hospital of Orange County(CHOC) Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). The apartment was created as a resting place for families who have children who are critically ill and being treated in the PICU. I spent months working on the paintings, which I planned to donate to the hospital. When it was time to deliver the paintings I had grown attached to the characters and I could not bring myself to give them away. After much thought, I decided to donate prints and I kept the original artwork. Knowing the prints had a home in the PICU apartment kitchen I was so proud, my hope was the paintings would bring much-needed smiles to families spending long days in the apartment.

Throughout the years when I was in the city of Orange, I would stop by the PICU apartment to visit the staff & thank them for their amazing work.  In 2016, I was at CHOC delivering a new mural for the Ambulatory Care Center and while I was in the building I stopped by the PICU apartment. I took the elevator up to the 5th floor, walked into the apartment and discovered the apartment had been redecorated, the prints of my artwork were missing. Devastated, I spoke to a woman working at the front desk and inquired about the artwork. She could see my concern and she explained she was a new employee and she had never seen the paintings. I left my business card for the apartment manager and asked her to please contact me. The next day I received the email below and I learned the frogs found a new home.

Hi Katherine, 

I heard you stopped by the apartment …We remodeled the area 2 years ago and were in the process of bringing the pictures to the Ronald McDonald House when we were approached by a parent of a patient.  Their daughter had been in and out of the oncology unit in PICU since 2009 and always loved the frog pictures.  During their last stay in the PICU they asked about them and inquired on buying them for her room at home.  They made a donation to the Family Apartment in her name and we put that money towards the kids table and chairs we currently have.  I thank you so much for your generous contribution to the Kitchen and am touched that your gift is making a difference for a very special little girl!

My best! Mary Pat

Learning this touching news I was again reminded why artwork is healing and why I need to continue to follow my vision of providing free happy artwork to hospitals and medical clinics. After I received the news about the frog prints finding a new home with a cancer survivor I decided it was time to find homes for the original paintings. Two of the original frog paintings now have a home at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto, CA. I also packaged up one of the original paintings and mailed to my close friend Renae Jacob in Chicago. At the time Renae was recovering from a kidney transplant and she was on a waiting list for a pancreas islet cell transplant.

She named her painting “Healing Frog!”


Me with paintings.jpg

Healing Frogs
Painted for the PICU family apartment at CHOC Children's Hospital of Orange County in Orange California.

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