Eight-Year-Old Creates Mini-Documentary on St. Louis Children’s Hospital Life

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Benjamin Robinson's "Kid Cam" project details his battle with brain cancer.

Eight-year-old Benjamin Robinson created St. Louis Children's Hospital's first Kid Cam video. He hopes his story will offer comfort and support to other children fighting cancer.

Benjamin hopes people will share it with family, friends or colleagues with children who may benefit from his experience

Until last May, Benjamin’s Robinson’s greatest challenges were mastering the Wii and choosing his favorite Chinese food restaurant. Now, the eight-year-old from Vergennes, IL, is entering his twelfth month of therapy at St. Louis Children’s Hospital for a medulloblastoma, a form of pediatric brain tumor.

With brain surgery, six weeks of radiation, and twelve months of chemotherapy behind him, and at least three more months of chemotherapy to go, Benjamin is nearing the finish line of his grueling journey. It's a journey for which his mom, Shelly Robinson, admits nobody could ever really prepare.

"He spent the first few weeks learning how to walk again after brain surgery," explains Shelly. "His ongoing care is made up of so much more than the chemotherapy - he comes in for routine MRIs, vision and hearing screenings, physical therapy, and educational assessments, just to name a few."

Recognizing a need to help educate new patients about the realities of brain tumors or other pediatric cancer treatments, the hospital asked Benjamin if he'd be willing to share his personal experience.

Armed with a Flip camera and an outgoing personality, Benjamin interviewed many of the nurses, therapists, and physicians – even hospital volunteers, involved in his regular care. The result is St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s first "Kid Cam" video.

"While parents can learn about our programs by visiting our website, we really wanted to offer something more personal for the children that captures the true hospital experience from a kid’s perspective," says Jackie Ferman, Media Relations Manager. "Benjamin's Kid Cam video sends a message to others in his shoes that they're not alone."

Benjamin's Kid Cam captures some of the scary moments he routinely encounters – like accessing the port used to deliver his chemotherapy medication. The video also captures many of the lighter moments of hospital life, like visits with the music therapist, members of the Child Life Services team, and "Nel," one of the many therapy dogs who visit regularly.

"Benjamin hopes people will share it with family, friends or colleagues with children who may benefit from his experience," says Shelly.

The Kid Cam video runs nearly 6 and a half minutes and is currently available on the hospital’s website. Well-wishers are also encouraged to share their thoughts and words of encouragement with Benjamin by visiting the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Facebook page.

St. Louis Children's Hospital has provided specialized care for children for more than 130 years. The hospital is affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine, ranked the number three medical school in the country by US News & World Report. In 2009, Parents magazine ranked St. Louis Children's Hospital number five in the nation. In 2010, St. Louis Children’s Hospital was redesignated as a Magnet hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the nation’s highest honor for nursing excellence. St. Louis Children's Hospital is a member of BJC HealthCare. For more information visit stlouischildrens.org.

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Jackie Ferman
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