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Hospital volunteer offers friendly faces & art from the heart

Mustafa Haleem is now working to become a cardiologist at Sharp Memorial Hospital.

SAN DIEGO — Sharp Memorial Hospital believes healing is about much more than just medicine. In this Zevely Zone, I met a volunteer offering healing from the heart. Inside the lobby at Sharp Memorial Hospital friendly faces await. 

"Happy, it makes me really happy," said Mustafa Haleem who was busy painting an art project. Until you volunteer at a hospital, you'll never really know how the color of your personality could make a difference. "All of these people are heroes, doctors and nurses and physical therapists. People from all departments of the hospital," said Mustafa.

He often paints with hospital patients to lift their spirits, but this project is a tribute to the hardworking healthcare staff. "I'll be most happy when I see the reaction when the work is finished," said Mustafa.

Credit: Sharp Memorial Hospital

That's when Victor Johnson, the hospital's Environmental Services Operations Manager, walked by. "It looks great, and this is me in the middle," said Victor. His face is a work in progress. "It looks like me definitely," said Victor.  

Credit: Sharp Memorial Hospital

In 2017, we watched the Arts for Healing Program share its love with premature babies. We met Amy Andrews on that day as she played lullabies to babies. Amy is now the program's coordinator. "Health and wellness is more than the physical body, it's also the spirit and the spirit is moved by the arts; may it be storytelling with the stories you tell or music, art, drama, poetry, all of that impacts how we are seeing ourselves in the moment how we feel in the moment and the story we are telling about ourselves," said Amy.

Credit: Sharp Memorial Hospital

Along with Mustafa's painting, he's also been collecting messages, and cutting and crafting them into a three-dimensional collage. Hundreds of healthcare workers wrote prayers and well wishes on tiny scraps of paper that were folded up and pasted onto the installation. "I can say this is a hybrid of a face, a smiling face, a happy face," said Mustafa.

Credit: Sharp Memorial Hospital

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There's a reason the collage has caring hands holding a smiling heart. "My life's mission is to become a doctor and physician," said Mustafa. He will someday be a cardiologist, but until then, he'll share his heart through art. "Thank you so much," said Mustafa.

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Upon completion, Mustafa's installation will hang inside Sharp Memorial Hospital.  For more information on Sharp's Arts for Healing program which is philanthropy funded click here.

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