RESILIENCE, EXCELLENCE, AND SACRIFICE
Heroes of Medicine® (HoM), a 501(c)3 public charity, is organized and operated exclusively for scientific, educational, and charitable purposes. Primarily, HoM creates short films as legacy projects for young palliative care patients.
The most powerful human stories are hidden in hospital rooms
Heroes of Medicine (HoM) creates patient-centered short films, seeking to capture the human condition in the areas where it is most threatened and cultivated. Illness is both an agent of devastation and growth, revealing vulnerable moments that translates into resilience, excellence, and sacrifice.
HoM provides, through storytelling, a medium through which young palliative care patients may be honored, highlighting what matters most to them and their loved ones. The foundation also interviews physicians and scientists to bridge the educational gap between medical professionals and the general public. By spanning the full spectrum of medicine from the bench to the bedside through the most transparent lens, HoM seeks to benefit the individual patient hero as well as move forward the greater evolution of healthcare.
Streetlight at UF Health Shands Children's Hospital is a model of adolescent palliative care using peer support as an intervention for depression, non-compliance and psychosocial and spiritual suffering. The patient population is comprised of individuals 13-30 years-old living with cancer, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and other illnesses that cause interrupted psychosocial development, chronic pain, and premature death. A select group of University of Florida students are chosen for this program based on their ability to empathize, listen, interact with strangers, build a relationship with or without common interests, and provide meaningful support. The following video shows a reflection from Max Van Belkum, upon his experience as a Streetlight volunteer:
AT UFHEALTH SHANDS HOSPITAL
Streetlight's remarkable patient work makes HoM film production possible.
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OUR FILMING PROCESS
The fine line between sickness and beauty
What makes HoM unique is our process for filming a patient. Through our relationship with Streetlight at UF Health Shands Children's Hospital, a program offering palliative care support through the model of peer support, we connect with our patients and build a relationship. If we feel a personalized video could provide an opportunity to enhance that person's life, we propose it. Then we brainstorm the story with the patient, request hospital approval, and film it.
The brainstorming process balances dual goals to provide awareness for a specific disease, as well as inspiration demonstrated through a patient's life.
After viewing, patients decide whether their video will remain private (only they see it) or public (the foundation hosts the video on the HoM website). HoM holds the copyright of the work, which means that patients have full control of their videos forever.
SOCIAL MEDIA ADVISOR
Friendship, inspiration, and support
The heroes featured are adolescent and young adult patients living with cancer, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell, and other chronic and life-limiting illnesses at UF Health Shands Children's Hospital. Some of these patients live with the hope of an available medical cure, and some of these patients know that no cure currently exists. In every case, where medicine shows its strengths and limitations, one facet of healing remains: relationship. Relationship enfolds each patient's video, as it is through quality time and conversation that we can best learn what message each patient would like to share with a greater community. HoM aims to give our patients a lens through which to better appreciate the significance of their own story as well as a means by which to give their precious perspective to others needing a hero.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Palliative Care Fund at UFHealth
Roberto and Meibel Marchi
Tina and Bruce Pierce