The founder of Migi’s Corner, Cathy Babao Guballa, speaks with Dr. Heidi Horsley during an Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) conference. As a writer and grief educator, Guballa created Migi’s Corner as a space in pediatric charity wards throughout the Philippines. It was founded in 1998 after Guballa’s four-year-old son, Migi, died from complications during an open heart surgery. Children who are confined to hospitals in the Philippines have a very different experience compared to American children. There’s no such thing as a “children’s ward” actually designed to comfort and entertain children. That’s changed a bit since then, but Migi’s Corner was the first.

Guballa created play materials and books, and was shocked by the response from around the world. There are now Migi’s Corners around the country, providing a more enjoyable space for children and families in hospitals. Today, there are over 14 Migi’s Corners in the Philippines. There are Migi’s Rooms, Wards, and Gardens. So many children have benefited, which has helped in Guballa’s own grief journey.

A Better Experience

At first, it was very difficult for Guballa to return to the hospital. It was only six months after Migi’s death. However, it was a means of honoring his memory and she quickly fell into the spirit of service. When you help others, you also help yourself. Stepping out of your grief lightens your own burden. She’s seen many children through the years, and it’s like seeing a part of her son come alive again.

She had promised Migi, right before he died, that she would do something incredible to help other children in similar situations. Today, she’s proud to have honored this promise and continues to ensure Migi’s Corner grows. Fortunately, other similar projects have also been created.

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Heidi Horsley

Dr. Heidi Horsley is an international grief expert, licensed psychologist, and social worker. She is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Open to Hope Foundation, one of the largest internet grief resources, with over 2 million yearly visitors. She hosts the award-winning Open to Hope cable television show and podcast. Dr. Heidi is an adjunct professor at Columbia University. She serves on the ​National Board of Directors for The Compassionate Friends, the largest peer to peer support organization in the world. She also serves on the National Advisory Board for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS has served over 50,000 military families who have suffered a loss. In addition, she serves on the National Advisory Board for the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, and the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation. Dr. Heidi is on the VIP section of Marquis Who's Who in America, Madison Who's Who, and Who's Who of American Women. Dr. Heidi has co-authored eight books, including; Spouse Loss; Fresh Grief; Inspirational Stories for Handling the Holidays After Loss; Inspirational Stories of Healing After Loss; Real Men Do Cry; A Quarterbacks Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression & Surviving Suicide; Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with Understanding Support and Guidance; and Signs and Hope From Heaven. She has appeared on the ABC television show 20/20, has been interviewed by numerous media outlets, and has been a guest on hundreds of radio shows as well as quoted in dozens of media publications, including the Metro World News, Washington Post, Time Magazine, Newsday, Money Magazine, and New York Daily News. Dr. Heidi is also the author of numerous articles and academic book chapters. Dr. Heidi gives keynotes, presentations, and workshops throughout the country, and teaches continuing education workshops for health care professionals on support following trauma and tragedy. For 10 yrs., Dr. Heidi worked as a co-investigator for the FDNY-Columbia University Family Guidance Program; a study which looked at traumatic loss in families of firefighters killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Through this 9/11 study, Dr. Heidi provided ongoing intervention and follow-up to firefighter widows and their children, and facilitated groups for bereaved siblings. In addition, Dr. Heidi supervised the school social work staff at Harlem Democracy Charter Schools in NYC for four years. Dr. Heidi's early career included work in a variety of clinical settings, including; Manhattan Psychiatric Center, California Pacific Medical Center Psychiatry Dept., University of San Francisco Mental Health Clinic, St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Psychiatry Dept., and Hope Haven Residential Treatment Center in New Orleans. Her doctoral dissertation was on the sudden death of a sibling. Her academic credentials include a doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) from the University of San Francisco; a Masters degree in social work (LMSW) from Columbia University, and a Masters degree in mental health counseling (MS) from Loyola University, in New Orleans. Dr. Heidi splits her time between NYC and Tucson AZ.

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