Mary and Jonathan Gorham’s Stories

On January 7, 2014 when I, Mary, heard the three words, “You have cancer”, I was in shock. Me? Cancer? During the nine months that followed, the staff at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven Connecticut helped me through major surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, while our friends and family showered us with love and food. While everyone was helping me to heal, I could see that what they were doing was also healing to each of them in other ways. As an executive coach, I had experienced this many times, but now is a cancer patient, I had new appreciation for the circle of healing. So while I was in chemotherapy, I wondered what might be something simple that any patient at the hospital could do that would help everyone heal?

Several years earlier, my husband, Jon, had developed some small origami nesting boxes. It occurred to us that patients and visitors all around us at the hospital might enjoy making them for themselves, their loved ones, staff, and other patients. When ten years old, Jon had spent half a year in a children’s hospital in Illinois recovering from polio. He became acutely aware of the anxiety, boredom, and frustration that young patients can experience. So both of us had a firsthand sense of what a difference these little boxes could make, and we proposed the idea to the hospital staff. The hospital staff liked the idea, and together, we started the first Healing Boxes® program at Yale New Haven Hospital’s Smilow Cancer Center resulting in many delightful improvements to patient’s experiences. Now hospitals everywhere can start their own Healing Boxes® programs, and reap the same rewards for their own patients.




For more information about how you might set up your own Healing Boxes® program, please contact Jon Gorham at jon@healingboxes.org.

Healing Ourselves, Healing One Another, and Healing the World