Art helps in recovery for breast cancer patients

Susan G. Komen grant allows for artist in residence program at Queen's

Published  5:31 PM HST Oct 17, 2013
Breast Cancer Patient Art Class
HONOLULU -

A Susan G. Komen grant provides breast cancer patients with an artist in residence program at the Queen's Medical Center.

Click here to see Nana Ohkawa's report.

Lynn Murray signed up immediately when she heard about the program.  It's a diversion from the medical treatments she has to go through as a breast cancer patient.

"I have to take chemo now every three weeks, a 4-hour injection every three weeks for the rest of my life," said Murray.

A cancer survivor herself, art teacher Jocelyn Cheng, has a deep connection with the patients.

"I think art helps the soul recover and heal.  There's a joy they find in making art which is the fun part," said Cheng.

It's fun.  There's no pressure to share stories.  The women say nothing's forced.

Instead, it's a time they can lean over and talk about medical treatments, how they feel or their painting -- whatever they want.

"I'm an only child.  I don't have brothers or sisters and no one close to me has gone through breast cancer.  So this is a great resource for people like me who, I'm from California, so I don't have an ohana here.  This is my ohana," said Murray.

"One of the real reasons I think it's so wonderful that we have Susan G. Komen and the American Cancer Society because they give us support in these kinds of supports," said breast cancer patient Nolyn Blanchette.

Blanchette discovered how creative she can be.  The class, she says, revives her spirit.

"It gives people hope because no matter what's going on in my life, look, I can create this beauty and if you can create beauty in your life, you can apply it to many things," said Blanchette.

The art class changes every week.  Next week, the patients will learn how to make masks.

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