Recovery Discovery Hospital Game


More than once, crafting has become my only way to find a voice. It’s happened a few times when I’ve felt otherwise helpless. This Recovery Discovery hospital game is the result of one of those times. I devised it for my second cousin while she was battling childhood cancer last winter. (She’s since gone into remission after receiving a bone marrow transplant. Now she supports other kids fighting the disease.)

start_piece2I wanted a fun way for her to interact with visitors, who may or may not know what to say. It needed to be portable and small enough to fit on a hospital table. I also wanted to make a craft that would involve my parents, who flew in for a long weekend. It happened to be February, during a stretch of harsh weather, so indoor activities were a must.

This is what we created. It’s a card game designed to spark conversations. Players build a path from start to finish by placing cards face down. (A short path for only a few minutes; longer if there’s time to spare.) Everyone puts his or her game piece at the start, rolls the die, moves forward, flips the card, and answers the question. The first person to reach the finish wins.


Making the game turned out to be a bonding experience. Mom taught me some new stitches, and she and I made the felt pieces. Dad and I made the question cards. It took us several days, a few hours at a time. We sat by the fire, talked, and worked.

Of course, we weren’t the ones who took R’s cancer away. She has her (mightily heroic) anonymous donor to thank for that! Her medical teams deserve infinite credit for guiding her through the procedures and recoveries. Her parents, friends, and community–2,000 miles from my home–are the strong ones. And I admire her more than she’ll ever know, for living through it all.

Even so, I’m grateful for for crafting. In this case, it was the only way I could find to contribute some small shred of love to a situation that sometimes felt insurmountable.

Is there something you feel helpless about? Can you think of a craft that could become a way to contribute?