Our Story:

The Story Behind the Healing Boxes®

On January 7, 2014, when I 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 helped me through major surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, while our friends and family showered us with love and food. While everyone’s care was helping me to heal, I also saw that their care had a healing effect on them too. As an executive coach, I had experienced this circle of healing many times, but now as a cancer patient, I had new appreciation for its power. So while I was in chemotherapy, I wondered what might be something simple that any patient or visitor at the hospital could do that would help everyone heal. Several years earlier, my husband, Jon, had developed some small origami nesting boxes, and it occurred to us that patients and visitors all around us might enjoy making them for their loved ones and other patients. The hospital staff liked the idea, and introduced us to Christin FitzGerald and her feather printmaking. Together, we all found ourselves inspired to offer these boxes to you. So in a spirit of great love and fun, we invite you to make however many sets of boxes you choose. Fill them with an inspirational message and/or a prize if you wish. Then feel free to keep a set for yourself and share another set with someone you love. And for yet more joy and healing, make a set and ask a hospital staff member to give it to another patient who could really use a smile.

As you do, please join us in healing ourselves, healing one another, and healing the world.

To your health!

Mary Gorham


The Story Behind the Feather Prints

My husband, daughter and I came to know and love the community at Smilow Cancer Hospital during my husband’s 25-day stay at the hospital for a stem cell transplant in June 2012. My family is deeply grateful for the care and support we all received from the entire staff of Smilow then, as well as the care we continue to receive. As an artist, I have enjoyed sharing print making with patients, family, caregivers and staff at Smilow as an expression of that gratitude. The feather printmaking workshops I have led at Smilow have allowed me to support others in synchronizing inspiration from the natural world with the therapeutic benefits of the creative process. It was a pleasure to provide printed feather images for these Healing Boxes®; they were made with love.

Christin FitzGerald



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

Join us in healing ourselves, healing one another, and healing the world!