Phagan and Bucciarelli enjoyed their virtual tour and learned more about the teenager’s favorite artist. Phagan had previously traveled to Paris for her 13th birthday and visited the Giverny garden, where Monet painted.
“For that brief, but treasured, time we were transported,” Bucciarelli said of Phagan’s experience. “We were not in a hospital. We were in the Giverny garden and experiencing the beauty of exploring the Harn museum. For those moments, she was not a patient. She was an art scholar, and Monet’s biggest fan.”
“It was amazing,” Phagan said after the virtual tour concluded.
Gaintner enjoyed the experience as well.
“It was an amazing experience for us at the Harn,” Gaintner said. “Lia was so poised and charming. Her responses and reactions were intelligent, creative, thoughtful and so heartfelt. It was a special experience I will remember forever.”
Phagan’s mother, Tiffany Phagan, was grateful for her daughter’s “day out.”
“The beauty of this experience was the interactivity it provided,” Tiffany Phagan said. “It felt like we were able to get out of the room and be there — not like watching a documentary without participation. For patients who are ‘shut-ins’, nothing compares!”
We’re happy to report that Lia Phagan has since received her life-saving heart transplant and is doing very well, according to her transplant surgeon, Mark Bleiweis, M.D., UF College of Medicine transplant surgeon and director and principal cardiothoracic surgeon for the UF Health Congenital Heart Center.