“You saved my life.” These are words that you say to a doctor, a fire fighter, or a police officer. We heard those words from a cancer survivor.
When Mary Ellen Cunningham and I started Living Proof Exhibit, we knew that creative sessions would be part of our long-term plan. We were blessed to have Jacki Olson on board right away. Jacki is an extraordinarily talented artist and has her art therapy degree from DePaul University. On top of that she is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Because of her willingness to share her talent and nurture our emerging artists, the the creative sessions part of Living Proof Exhibit continues to thrive and grow.
Life saving, I hadn’t thought about that possibility...
Now I admit that if I hadn’t painted birdhouses during my chemotherapy treatments, I might have gone a bit bonkers. I was in the hospital after every treatment and was sicker than I thought possible. Painting those little houses made me feel happy and that kept me going. Mary Ellen turned to photography to get herself through her treatments. Our common use of art started us on this adventure.
I never imagined that something we would do would have such an impact on other people’s lives.
Jacki has led creative sessions for survivors, caregivers and families. We see first hand how creating something impacts their lives. The laughter and joy we hear and see in the classes assures us that we are making a difference.
But life saving? Wow...
The artist who made that statement has been battling a nasty cancer that has taken away some of her quality of life. Through Jacki’s gentle guidance, she has learned to express herself through a new medium. She has found joy again and that has led to hope.
If you live life with hope in your heart anything is possible. ...even saving a life.