LIMA — Across the globe on Sunday, people will honor cancer survivors to celebrate their lives after cancer diagnosis. The annual celebration of National Cancer Survivors Day shows that life after a diagnosis of cancer can be “fruitful, rewarding and even inspiring,” according to a statement from Lima Memorial Health System.
Lima Memorial’s Cancer Institute held its own celebration of life Wednesday 1 at the Old Barn Out Back in Lima. The Color Your World event invited cancer survivors and their guests to an evening of art therapy with the Awakening Minds Art staff.
“Life after cancer is more than just surviving. It can be beautiful, abundant, and fulfilling. And that’s something to celebrate,” said Cheryl Nagy, director of oncology services at Lima Memorial’s Cancer Institute. “You will find our community’s National Cancer Survivors Day celebration filled with joy, hope, camaraderie and compassion as we acknowledge our community’s cancer survivors.”
Awakening Minds Art, which has locations in Findlay and Lima, is a therapeutic art program. They work with special-needs and typical children and adults. Jayne Hilvers, an instructor at Awakening Minds Arts, said it is a great way for people, especially children on the autism spectrum and nonverbal children, to express themselves.
“We take the hard part out of art and make it fun,” Hilvers said. The cancer survivors “all say it’s very relaxing and fun and just a great way to take their mind off stuff.”
According to the National Cancer Institute, there were more than 14.14 million people in the United States living with a history of cancer. Major advances in cancer prevention, early detection and treatment have resulted in longer survival, which results in a growing number of cancer survivors.
Lima Memorial’s Cancer Institute has several different support groups for cancer survivors and have worked with art therapy techniques before in their groups.
“There is a lot of benefits to art therapy and this is just one of the forms of art therapy, painting and coloring, and everyone knows that adult coloring is really big right now,” Nagy said. “So that’s why we decided to Color Your World.”
Nagy said that many of the people in the support groups enjoy the art therapy, but they really come for the support of each other. It’s an understanding that only the survivors of cancer can share.
“It’s not so much the information we give them, it’s the support that they give from each other and that they get from each other,” Nagy said. “They can see people who are just getting started in the journey of what it’s like to be treated for cancer and then we have people who are 40 year survivors. So it’s a very positive energetic group. And it just gives people hope and that’s what it’s all about.”