CORPUS CHRISTI – A Driscoll Pulmonology patient’s artwork is used to educate others about the importance of healthy lungs for children.
Giovanni Saenz, 9, who has asthma, has painted two lungs: one healthy and smiling and one grimacing and coughing. Both lungs are on display in the Pulmonology Clinic at Driscoll Children’s Hospital. The artwork is a topic of conversation for other pulmonary patients and parents.
Jon Roberts, MD, Director of Pediatric Pneumology at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, is proud to have Saenz’s artwork hanging in his clinic.
“I’ve been taking care of Gio since he was a little panting toddler. I am amazed how much he has grown, both in size and as a person. And I had no idea how talented he was as an artist! He’s such a great kid, ”said Dr. Roberts.
For Saenz, the journey to meet talented young artists was a long, arduous journey.
Saenz stopped talking at the age of two. Having been diagnosed with autism and with the help of doctors and therapists, he now speaks, has upper body strength and is working on many more milestones.
Saenz’s grandmother died two years ago and school and everyday life became overwhelming for him. To cope with her son’s struggles, Saenz’s mother, Reena Saenz, gave him some paints, brushes, and a sheet of plywood.
“Let’s do something for Grandma’s cemetery property,” said the Corpus Christi resident to her son.
Reena was amazed at what Giovanni was doing.
“That day, after seeing his beautiful work, I realized that Giovanni had a gift. This child could paint just like a picture. Since then, he’s made his grandmother’s property the most beautiful on every vacation, ”said Reena.
“When his best buddy asked Dr. Roberts about lungs, Giovanni made it his top priority and surprised him with beautiful work that is now on display in the lung department,” she said. “Painting for Giovanni is a way for him to calm down, to deal with it. It is his self-regulating station, it is his safe zone and it is his beautiful imaginary world. “