Cancer survivor gives back to New Haven hospital sharing love for model trains

Cancer survivor shares love of model trains with Smilow Cancer Hospital (WFSB)

A former patient of Yale’s Smilow Cancer Hospital is giving back.

He’s taking his life-long love of model trains and turning his passion into a project that is putting smiles on plenty of faces.

Milam Langella said he saw a child getting a transfusion, and said “my heart was broken and I said there has got to be something I can do for them."

He said the only thing he knew how to do well is build model trains.

He constructed a moveable display that staff members will be able to take around the hospital and into the rooms of children getting treatment.

"Our idea at first was for the children, and the adults seem to be very enthused with this as well. We have many places we can put it in, the children especially that can't get out of their rooms, we can bring the train station to them, there's things to look at, there will be an ‘I spy,’ they can control the train. Something totally different, non-medical that will just brighten their day,” said Dana Shaffer, of Smilow Cancer Hospital.

The display is painted and put together by hand. Langella said he put more than 350 hours into it.

In addition to other volunteers and companies that donated supplies, Bank of America helped raise $2,500 for the project.

There is even a healing garden at the hospital, where Langella first saw that young cancer patient who inspired him to get to work.

"I cannot say how much I appreciate the Smilow staff themselves, just unbelievable people here, made my journey easy. And at the end of the day, with a successful operation I am cancer free, they got it all, and now you're helping...I'm helping,” Langella said.

He said the train set is a work in progress, saying it will never be finished, as he will be adding more and making changes.

One thing will be constant…and that is putting smiles on the faces of patients at the hospital.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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