Newswise — LOS ANGELES (May 1, 2019) - Cedars-Sinai volunteer Patricia Marquis, whose stage name is Patricia Magicia, uses magic for more than just entertainment. She uses her craft as a welcome distraction for patients facing an array of illnesses.
“I bring sunshine to people who may not have visitors or who may be dealing with pain,” said Marquis, a French native and member of the famous Magic Castle, who has been serving as a Cedars-Sinai volunteer for more than two years. “I try to make each patient feel like they are the only person I came to perform for, that I happened to magically appear just for them.”
Marquis enjoyed a successful career bringing high-end European lingerie retailers to the U.S. market, but she was eager to find an additional passion that would also allow her to give back to her community. At the same time, she lost a close family friend to blood cancer when he was just 32 years old. The experience left her knowing she wanted to become a hospital volunteer.
“Magic seemed like a good challenge, because I knew nothing about it,” said Marquis. “But I knew it would bring joy and laughter to both children and adults.”
After studying and training for years at the Magic Castle, Marquis began performing on her own and perfecting her skills. In addition to her weekly visits to Cedars-Sinai, Marquis performs at the Magic Castle, an orphanage in Tijuana and at local veterans’ hospitals.
“Cedars-Sinai volunteers are the heart of our institution,” said Casey McGuire, director of Volunteer Services at Cedars-Sinai. “Patricia – like all of our wonderful volunteers – brings energy, enthusiasm and happiness into the lives of patients who often need a distraction or visitor. She’s so vibrant and she truly improves the experience of our patients.”
Upon entering every patient room, Marquis begins by saying, “Today is your lucky day, you have two choices. Your first choice is, I can do magic for you. Or, I can make you a magician and you make me disappear.”
And while Marquis cannot use magic to cure patients, she’s able to bring joy where there was none before.
“I loved it,” said Amanda Drewery, a Cedars-Sinai patient who recently saw Marquis’ tricks up close. “I think she’s tremendous, talented and incredible. And it cheered me up a lot.”
In 2018, Cedars-Sinai volunteers—who range in age from 14 to over 100—donated 170,000 hours of time, leading to more than 45,000 touchpoints with patients, from delivering flowers and escorting them within the medical center to playing music.