DPR Construction gives kids the gift of whimsy and wonder


Employees of DPR Construction
raised $33,400 to fund and bring this
mural to life, giving young patients
the opportunity to see the mural
during chemotherapy sessions.

The newly renovated pediatric hematology-oncology clinic at Banner Children’s Diamond Children’s Medical Center in Tucson will open this spring with a special feature for young patients: a whimsical mural that patients can see while receiving chemotherapy. Wild animals riding bicycles, a magical castle, puppies and kittens, and fish in bubbles floating through crystal blue skies all come together on what was previously a bare parking garage wall.

The space was repurposed as a canvas for legendary Tucson artist Joe Pagac, who has painted many of the city’s most famous and visible murals. The project was made possible by the construction firm in charge of the clinic’s renovation. Through a volunteer-led initiative, employees of DPR Construction reached out to their entire team of designers and trade partners and raised $33,400 to fund and bring this mural to life.

“From the beginning, we knew we wanted to leave something behind for the young patients who will be receiving care in this new clinic,” says DPR’s Matthew Thrower, project executive for the renovation.

Lino & Michelle Leon Cordova, who
have been a part of Diamond
Children’s family since 2010,
were also on hand for the event.

Serving as both a welcome distraction and an outlet for young imaginations, the mural is designed to provide hope and inspiration and adds color and light in plain sight of young patients during a very difficult time. “We hope that the children can catch a moment of joy and peace looking at the mural,” Thrower says. As an added element of fun, Pagac created an augmented reality component; by viewing the mural through a smart device such as an iPad or smart phone, the characters within the image come to life in 3D.

A recent unveiling of the mural featured members of the DPR team, Pagac, and special guests Lino and Michelle Leon Cordova, who have been a part of Diamond Children’s family since 2010 when Lino first began his battle with leukemia, were also on hand for the big event.

Lino’s mother, Michelle, explains the significance to patients’ families, as well. “This mural will mean so much to our families as a representation of our journey. I see in each piece different aspects that are important as we go through this battle: our kids, the loving staff and resilience that it takes to conquer the battle these kids face every day. We are extremely grateful for the gift of this mural. It will brighten our lives for years to come.”

The renovation added space and improved functionality for the 600 to 800 pediatric cancer and blood disorder patients who visit the hematology-oncology clinic each month. Providing world-class care and support for these kids, the new clinic space is warm and welcoming and, like the rest of Diamond Children’s, designed “through the eyes of a child.”

Photo courtesy of Tim Hyde

“It has been a pleasure and an honor to support the inspiring work of the clinic and provide some joy to patients,” Thrower explains. “We are so grateful that DPR Construction can be a part of Banner Health’s mission to care for our community.”