Sculpture celebrating strength, spirit of pediatric patients unveiled at Bronson Children’s Hospital

KALAMAZOO, MI — Bronson Children’s Hospital this week unveiled a life-size sculpture created by a local sculptor in Kalamazoo. The piece stands at the corner of Vine and Jasper Street, capturing the strength and spirit of pediatric patients.

The sculpture was unveiled at 4 p.m. Wednesday, when donors and a small group of guests gathered to see the bronze figures of six children. The sculpture depicts a mother with her baby born at Bronson, according to creator Josh Diedrich.

Another part of the sculpture is loosely based on pictures submitted by parents of pediatric patients of Bronson Children’s Hospital.

Diedrich started the sculpture in his studio before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Diedrich, he was able to move the figures to his house on the first day of quarantine.

“I began adding clay to the statues in my living room,” Diedrich said. “I spent the next five months sculpting them from home. I was a patient myself for several long periods as a child because I needed to have my hands reconstructed. I hope that every child going into the hospital can find themselves somewhere in the piece.”

New Bronson Children’s Hospital sculpture unveiled. Photo provided by Bronson Healthcare.Bronson Corporate Communications

The figure is made of cast bronze in a traditional “lost wax” method. The statues are attached to a 2,000-pound pedestal made of cultured stone and ultra-high performance concrete over a steel framework.

The sculpture is funded through the Bronson Health Foundation and the Polzin family in memory of John Polzin, who passed away in 2017.

From 1987-2015, Polzin served on the Bronson Health Foundation Board of Directors. He is a former owner of Kalamazoo-based National Products, now called National Flavors.

“This piece honors John as he exemplified the healing power of kindness and humble generosity in our community to support Bronson’s youngest patients,” said Terry Morrow, Bronson Healthcare vice president of development. “We honor John and his wife Kay for this donation, and their long-time commitment to ensuring Bronson Children’s Hospital is fully prepared to care for children in our community.”

Morrow hopes this sculpture serves as a visually pleasing landmark for Bronson Children’s Hospital.

“It reflects the commitment Bronson has made to being Southwest Michigan’s only children’s hospital,” Morrow said. “Our dedicated pediatric and neonatal staff go above and beyond to provide specialized services and care for our young patients every day.”

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