Dealing with the emotional side of cancer often can be just as devastating as the physical challenges. We know lives have been changed forever, and there is a struggle to cope. We also know there is a search for ways to regain control, and to make sense of it all.
Research suggests that even just one hour of art therapy can positively impact a broad spectrum of symptoms related to pain and anxiety in cancer patients, such as improving depression and reducing fatigue. Creating Hope believes our HOPE kits will enhance the ability of patients to cope with cancer treatment, and provide them with an important emotional outlet during their treatment journey.
While many valuable services exist to assist cancer patients, there are very few that provide direct support services for managing the emotional side of cancer. One HOPE Kit recipient had these words to say about her experience,
“What a great time I had at the Infusion Ward today! I was so relaxed and peaceful while painting with your watercolors! Usually I have some nervous anxiety when I am there, ... but not today! What a cool idea to put the bookmarks, paints, and water cup on cardboard so we can paint in a chair. This makes it so non-intimidating also! My husband wants me to show him how to paint so we can paint together! I just appreciate you so much!”
The benefit of a creative outlet for cancer patients while coping with the pain and harsh treatment involved with fighting their cancer has been studied and documented in numerous books. In their book, Creative Healing, Michael Samuels, MD, and Mary Rockwood Lane, RN, MSN, list benefits as to how art heals:
Automatic nervous system shifts the body to the relaxation response.
Hormones shift the body to healing mode.
Blood flow shifts, bringing in nutrients and immune cells.
Immune system enhancement fights cancer and infection.
Killer T cells eat cancer cells.
Neuro-transmitters and endorphins reduce pain.
Self-healing mechanisms are released.
Through their HOPE Kits, workshops and demonstrations, Creating Hope brings cancer patients the many benefits of creative activity.
Now the days I paint are my best days. When my mind connects with my spirit, I live in another world for that time. A world without pain or suffering.
— Jeanette Gianfagna Shamblen