On Saturday, May 4, the rooms of the Cranston Public Library’s Oak Lawn Branch came alive with the paintings of 83 patients of Dr. Linda DelVecchio-Gilbert.
The doctor owns and operates Magnolia Pediatrics on Budlong Road in Cranston. Her practice provides palliative care for children from newborn to 22 years old.
“Once a patient, always a patient,” DelVecchio-Gilbert said.
She describes her practice as an additional resource for families.
"Magnolia Pediatrics is a pro bono medical practice that I opened in January 2016,” she said. “I am a doctorally prepared pediatric nurse practitioner … I care for children with complex, chronic medical conditions and focus on optimizing their quality of life. Besides the medical appointments, my husband, Adam, and I have create experiences and hold events for the children and their families, such as outdoor family movie nights, annual Valentine’s Day and Halloween parties and dance parties.”
The current art event began last July when DelVecchio-Gilbert realized that the children needed to have their artwork displayed so the community could see what beautiful work they have created. Each patient and sibling painted their own canvases.
“I reached out to so many places. When I spoke with the Central Library in Cranston, they said they had no openings until spring 2020. But, they suggested I reach out to [librarian] Stef Blankenship here at Oak Lawn. She immediately said yes, and here we are showing off 83 pieces of art,” she said.
DelVecchio-Gilbert actually moved into the former Rachel’s Sugar Shop on Budlong Road, and kept the kitchen to include baking activities with her patients.
She focuses on quality of life for her patients.
“My practice is committed to caring compassionately for children with complex, chronic conditions that develop prenatally, during infancy, childhood, or adolescence,” she said. “Our care is centered on the child and engages, respects and partners with the family by supporting the emotional, social, spiritual, and physical needs of the child and family.”
DelVecchio-Gilbert uses crafting, relaxation bottles, clay, baking and lots of sensory tools. She also understands the importance of letting siblings participate in the healing process and their need for attention and help as well.
One family in particular has a very special place in the hearts of DelVecchio-Gilbert and her husband.
Christine Link has 11 children. Five are biological children, five are adopted and one is a foster child. Five of Link’s children are patients of DelVecchio-Gilbert.
“She is a resource you simply cannot find anywhere. When I first met her, I didn”t believe she was real,” Link said. “She makes herself completely available – days, nights, weekends and holidays. She is not our doctor. She is more than a friend. She is our family.”
During the art show, DelVecchio-Gilbert and all her volunteers were dressed like Parisian artists in black and white striped tops, red neckerchiefs and berets.
As the children walked into the library, each was greeted with applause and cheers. Each artist was given their own beret to wear for the photos taken in front of a painted banner, as well as a necklace and a certificate of participation.
Travis Quinn, a 10-year-old patient who attends Chester W. Barrows Elementary School, also got to be a special greeter, welcoming people to the gallery and offering homemade treats.
When asked what he likes best about Dr. Linda, he answered simply, “Her hugs.”
For more information on Magnolia Pediatrics, visit magnoliapediatricsri.com.
For a complete listing of all library programs and activities, visit cranstonlibrary.org.