Creating Hope with artJune 15, 2017
By LEANN BURKE
JASPER — Five women gathered Tuesday evening around a table in a side room of the Lange-Fuhs Cancer Center at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center watercolor painting and chatting about Brew. The topic came up when Paula Foisy of Ireland brought up the photographs of natural stones on display in the downtown Jasper restaurant, but conversation quickly turned to Brew’s food. Their burgers, the ladies agreed, are a work of art themselves.
The women gathered for Creating Hope, a program that helps cancer patients and their caregivers cope with the disease through art. Sessions happen in the evenings of the first and second Tuesdays of the month, and participants come to decorate bookmarks that are included in new patient packets at the cancer center. Sometimes they talk about the cancers that brought them to the session, and sometimes the disease never comes up, and that’s OK. The sessions are about providing an artistic release, not about the cancer specifically.
“(Talking) is part of the therapy either way,” said Angela Hoagland, director of pharmacy and oncology services at Lange-Fuhs.
The Creating Hope program at Lange-Fuhs is part of a larger nonprofit organization by the same name out of Fishers. Jeanette Gianfagna Shamblen founded the organization in 2000 after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Although not an artist, Shamblen found that creative expression through painting helped her cope with her cancer journey, and she decided to share that with others. Each Creating Hope participant receives a Hope Kit that contains watercolor paints, brushes, colored pencils and books to get them started. Those supplies covered the table Tuesday night at Lange-Fuhs where Donna Renner of Ireland sat painting a butterfly onto a bookmark.
“It’s relaxing,” she said. “It takes your mind off it.”
Renner began attending Creating Hope last year while battling her own cancer. She’s finished with treatment now, but continues to attend the sessions.
Patients and former patients aren’t the only people welcome at Creating Hope. Several participants are caregivers or former caregivers, as well. Paula Foisy and her mother, Linda, both of Ireland, began attending Creating Hope while caring for Linda’s husband and Paula’s father, Tom. Tom passed away in October, but the two women still attend the sessions.
“It is beautiful, wonderful support,” Paula said. “These women were put here for a purpose.”
Creating Hope began at the Lange-Fuhs Cancer Center in 2011 and is mostly run by three volunteers — Deb DePree of Jasper, Leah Hayworth of Huntingburg and Sabrina Verkamp of Ferdinand. DePree got involved as a volunteer a few years after the program started. Now, she can’t imagine not being part of it, although she did stop coming for a while when she became a caretaker for her father-in-law. After her father-in-law passed away, however, she returned to her role as volunteer with the program. Walking back into the cancer center for the first time after her experience as a caretaker was hard, DePree said, but it was something she wanted to do. She missed the support and care she found in the staff and other patients.
“Everyone is so loving at the cancer center,” she said. “It makes you want to be part of the groups.”
More on DuboisCountyHerald.com
Dr. Karim Anwar has been named the 2018 Little Company of Mary Outstanding Physician Award...
But the event still offers the usual jazz, art, wine and craft beer festgoers have come to expect.
Pike County is planning for a future that involves thousands of acres around Interstate 69.
Jim Birkle of Jasper has been practicing various forms of martial arts for more than 30 years.
Four troopers from the Indiana State Police’s Jasper Post recently received awards for service...
On Friday, Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter presented Trooper Kaitlyn Greene with...
There’s no doubt that costs tied to prom can start to add up. But all the price tags that go...
19 years after the Columbine High School shooting, about 100 Jasper High School students walked...