“The murals are a testament to Julianna’s legacy of courage, compassion, vast imagination and her truly adventurous spirit,” said Julianna’s doctor, Fran Flug, M.D., director, Hematology at the Institute for Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, HackensackUMC. “Julianna’s dream was to create a room that would be a place of comfort for the patients treated at the Institute for Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders and these murals certainly accomplish that.”
Julianna, who lived in Highland Mills, New York (Orange County), was 12 years old at the time of her death from Ewing’s Sarcoma, a bone cancer. Julianna’s wish was to create an atmosphere for girls and boys of all ages who, upon seeing mural, would tap into their imagination, fuel their creativity and promote healing and comfort.
Much of Julianna’s persona has been captured on these walls by Make-A-Wish® Hudson Valley supporter and artist, Joe Calandra, who, after meeting with Julianna, captured her vision through the mural artwork. If you look closely, you will see her stuffed dog “Tandy” and pea pods “The Peas” that were her constant companions whenever she was receiving treatment at the hospital. You may notice the fairy depicted in the mural bears a resemblance to Julianna herself, watching over each and every child who comes to the Reuten Center to receive treatment. There’s also a unicorn. In some literary traditions, it is believed that the tears of a unicorn have the ability to heal both physical wounds and sorrows of the heart.