Patients get a Buddy, thanks to KC artist Tom Corbin.
By Georgia Thompson
Man’s best friend has recently found a permanent spot in the garden adjacent to the chapel at Children’s Mercy Hospital. The life-size bronze sculpture, dubbed Buddy, was created by acclaimed Kansas City artist Tom Corbin and has already started providing solace for patients and their families as its newest greeter.
Children’s Mercy Hospital Board of Directors member and hospital benefactor, James B. Nutter Sr., along with his wife Annabel, approached Kansas City sculptor, painter and artist Corbin about creating a piece of sculpture. The Nutter’s wanted to pay respects to their deceased daughter, Nancy, and provide a companion for the children receiving treatment at the hospital.
Nancy Nutter, a longtime devotee to the animals at Wayside Waifs and a fervent dog enthusiast, owned eight dogs, one of which was Buddy, whom the statue was modeled and named after. Given Nancy’s passion for canines, Nutter notes Buddy is the ideal memorial to his late daughter, purposefully placed in the hospital that he and his family have been involved with throughout the years.
David Westbrook, senior vice president of strategy and innovation at Children’s Mercy Hospital, is excited about the addition of Buddy—and the attention and traffic the dog has brought to the hospital’s garden sanctuary.
“We are so blessed to have a work of art by such a noted artist, and we are blessed by the Nutter family’s generosity,” Westbrook says. “The animated response of the children who interact with Buddy is truly touching.”
According to Westbrook, Buddy is visited most frequently by the children and families required to stay at Children’s Mercy for an extended period of time. “Buddy provides comfort in an otherwise foreign environment for such patients,” he explains.
Corbin also views his work of art as a vehicle of support for those spending time at Children’s Mercy Hospital.
“Since these children aren’t at home with their pets, they now have a pet of sorts to console them,” Corbin said. “Our hope is that he [Buddy] lightens up their time at the hospital.
Although the patients at Children’s Mercy Hospital face health challenges, the hospital, in partnership with Corbin and the Nutter family, ensures that each child will never be without a Buddy.