Tag Archives: Cancer

Day 95 – Role Models: Journey of Hope

Journey of Hope by Cid Palacio

When I left a thirty three year career three years ago, to look after my mom who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, I discovered painting.

When lightening struck twice and I lost my Dad to cancer within fifteen months of losing my mom, my painting became even more so, my escape and means of relaxing and expressing my feelings. I truly believe that in addition to the love and support from my family, creative expression through painting, was the glue that kept me together, during a very difficult time in my life.

When I first picked up a paintbrush three years ago, I could not have imagined that that moment would pave the way for a personal mission and what I’ve come to refer to as my ‘Journey of Hope’.

Through this journey, I’ve become an artist with a cause “To raise funds through my art to help fight cancer”. (www.artbycid.com)  On this journey, I brought together over 300 artists from around the globe to also donate to cancer charities, through the creation of the ART for Cancer Group (www.artforcancergoup.com). More recently through this journey, I launched a charitable organization, The ART for Cancer Foundation (www.artforcancerfoundation.org), where heart connects with art for creativity, healing and hope.

On this journey, I became keenly interested in learning more about the creative process as a means to help healing.  The role of art and the creative process in emotional healing has been documented since the early 70’s.  Art Therapy is evolving and becoming more and more accepted as part of an integrated approach to healing of body and soul, particularly with cancer patients. Research suggests that participation in creative experiences can reduce anxiety, promote relaxation and improve the overall quality of life of people living with cancer.

In terms of embracing creativity as an integrative part of healing, European countries and the US appear to be more advanced than in Canada.  Several creative programs are offered in these countries, either in collaboration with the medical community and/or on a stand-alone basis.  This knowledge became a further impetus to develop the next stage on my journey, The ART for Cancer Foundation.

The creation of the ART for Cancer Foundation, is a culmination of the journey I’ve been on for the past three years, and brings together two key elements:

  • Through our FREE creative programs we offer people living with cancer, an outlet for creative expression through the arts. It’s about helping them cope with today.
  • And though our support of cancer research-, we offer a ray of hope for a cancer cure tomorrow.

I am now running the ultimate small business!!  I now have a deeper appreciation for all those small businesses I dealt with during my career at BMO. The notion of wearing many hats is intimately familiar.  The fear of not having sufficient cash flow to meet obligations is real, as is the daunting bureaucracy of dealing with large organizations and the government.   And….. I’m loving every minute of it!!

Since launching earlier this year, we have delivered a number of painting workshops with Cancer Patients and their families. Our flagship program “Creating from Within” has been very well received.  The attached video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-KCnowuc9w, highlights one of the workshops we held with youth with cancer.

Our free painting workshops for cancer patients and their families,  run regularly and are held at arworks art school in the West end as well as other locations throughout the city. To find out about our next workshop date/location and to register please visit our website www.artforcancerfoundation.org.

I am fortunate to have the support of an amazing group of people who volunteer their time and expertise to help us deliver on our mission. We are a non-profit charity that is 100% volunteer run.

I am honoured to be among the individuals profiled and very thankful to Indra for the opportunity to get word out about our organization. I will shamelessly use this opportunity to reach out to all to let you know that we need your support!  Please join us, talk to friends who can benefit from our programs, make a small donation, volunteer some of your time, or simply help us spread the word.

Day 80 – Forgive and Forget

Life is so short and we never know when or how but one thing is for sure we should all be prepared to forgive and forget! ~ Stella Rowley Feb 6, 1959 – Aug 9, 2011

Stella Rowley

Stella Padwick

Today is the day that family and friends says their final goodbye to Stella Rowley before she is finally put to rest. Stella Padwick and I were best friends in high school. She befriended me when I joined Coleridge School, Cambridge, U.K. I was new in the country and I welcomed her friendship. She had these big green eyes and an open smile. We were the only girls in Physics.

She was warm, sensitive and a wonderful spirit. When I left Cambridge in 1975, I lost all contact with her and others I knew at Coleridge school.

June of 2010, I received an email from her titled “Old School Friend Maybe”. Her third sentence reads “…I am Stella who did Physics with you.” Within a few days we had exchanged over twenty emails filling each other in on our lives so far. She contemplated plans to swap her timeshare in Scotland for a visit to Canada.

A month later she was diagnosed with Cancer and started the fight against the disease.

In November of last year, we connected by Skype and talked endlessly one evening. We tried to Google other friends in the hope of finding others we used to know. She was so determined to track one particular friend, Christine Housden but with no luck.

Last Sunday, while being online, I saw a message from her Skype Account. Unfortunately, it was Paul, her husband contacting me to inform me about Stella passing away peacefully while in the hospital. This news struck me hard.

We had talked about seeing each other this year. I went on to Facebook to check her profile and found another message from her daughter. As I read through Stella’s last wall posts, I found the above quote posted on June 29th. Stella leaves a painful reminder of our short lives and often unforgiving hearts. She took strides to make peace with a few around her before she left.

Could we all aspire to do the same? Rest in peace, dear Stella and thank you for being back in my life if only for a short while. I will always treasure that.