Nemours Fund Princess Ball to benefit art and music therapy program


From 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 3, young girls throughout the Greater Jacksonville area will have the opportunity to embrace their inner princesses and attend the ball of the season with the most important men in their lives—their dads.

To be held at the Adam W. Herbert University Center on the University of North Florida campus, the Nemours Fund for Children’s Health Princess Ball is a father-daughter dance that will not only feature music and dancing, but also games, arts and crafts and the opportunity for attendees to meet their favorite princesses.

“We reached out to the University of North Florida and their Panhellenic Association, and they were very excited and offered to adopt the event as their spring philanthropy,” said Hilary Keeley, Nemours chief legal officer of Florida operations. “We have several sororities that are participating and are going to be dressing up in princess-inspired attire, as well as doing arts and crafts, and we also have a DJ.”

All proceeds from the dance will benefit the art and music therapy program at Nemours Children’s Specialty Care in Jacksonville, which is a clinic that provides medical services and treatment to chronically ill children.

“The art and music therapy program provides art and music therapy to the children in our hematology and oncology lobby on the eighth floor,” Keeley explained. “Our music therapist will sit in the lobby and play songs and do interactive dance with the children, and then the art program is part of a not-for-profit called Art With a Heart. We have artists who come and help children waiting for various treatments to do art projects, or manipulatives or play with Play-Doh. The programs really are just opportunities for distraction, and opportunities to create a more warm and welcoming environment in a place that’s otherwise very sterile.”

The program is so popular, Keeley advised, that patients and their families often schedule their therapies to coincide with it. As the program is currently offered only two to three days a week, the Nemours Women’s Committee adopted it as their philanthropy project for this year, with a goal of increasing the program’s offerings to five days a week. To raise funds, the committee decided that a dance incorporating both music and art would be the perfect event.

According to Nemours Marketing Communication Program Manager Erin Wallner, increasing the availability of the art and music therapy program would mean helping Nemours patients to heal not only physically, but emotionally as well.

“These kids go through so much during their hematology and oncology experience,” she said. “They’re poked, they’re prodded, they go through often painful procedures, but when we’re able to provide them a place and an opportunity for them to be kids, they actually look forward to coming to Nemours for their care. It turns what could otherwise be a negative trip to the doctor into a really positive experience, so any opportunity we have to give that to even more children, the better.”

For tickets and additional information about the Nemours Princess Ball, visit