A little color brightens cancer patients’ day - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

A little color brightens cancer patients’ day

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Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2003 8:51 am | Updated: 2:00 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

When Scottsdale resident Carol Campbell endured radiation therapy for colon cancer 10 years ago, like many patients, she was left to stare for hours at a stark white ceiling.

But dozens of cancer survivors, friends and family members on Saturday did their part to add a splash of color to patient-care areas at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea hospital.

The Paintfest was part of the center’s second annual Cancer Survivors Day.

"I think the tile is one of the greatest ideas," Campbell said. "As much as I’ve laid on my back and looked up at the ceiling . . . I would have loved this."

Each of the tiles had a butterfly design, which organizers say is an international symbol of hope and metamorphosis.

The tiles are both therapeutic and symbolic, said Trisha Stezzi, with the Foundation of Hospital Art, a nonprofit organization that sponsored the tile painting.

Some survivors enjoy creating the art for cancer patients, while others who might not recover from the disease "love the idea of leaving something behind," she said.

In addition to painting, the event offered cancer survivors a forum to swap stories, mingle and celebrate life.

"It’s nice to come and see healthy people," said Scottsdale resident Lorraine Dunlap, a three-year breastcancer survivor.

During the first Cancer Survivor Day, last year, volunteers planted the "garden of life" to symbolize the patients’ survival. Patients have also built a "wall of valor," which is festooned with ceramic tiles that list the names of survivors and those of people who have died because of the disease.

Specialists at the 69,000-square-foot center use a nontraditional approach to healing. Art, music and meditation therapy is used to bolster the clinical side of fighting the disease.

"Our goal is to heal the whole patient — mind, body and spirit," said Carol Francis, operations manager for the center.

Phoenix resident Sue Quigg said art helps in the healing process. The 66-year-old breast-cancer survivor painted three tiles.

"It does make a difference in recovery when art is involved," she said.

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