Posted by Jenny Redmond (@jennyredmond) · Mon, Aug 4 at 8:30am CST
Jenny Redmond - Patient/Caregiver Scholarship 2014
I was a 39 year old single mother when I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in August 2012. I had a bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and several surgeries. I had been a fourth grade teacher for 17 years but I had to take a long term medical leave during my treatments.
Thanks to my family, friends, coworkers, and others in the community my bills were always paid and there was always food on our table. During my treatments I began painting. This began as something to keep me busy but turned into much more. It became my therapy. Little did I know at the time, it would also be a way to help ease the financial burden of medical bills and other expenses. I never thought anyone would be interested in buying my work. But, after I began to slowly share some of my art, friends started showing an interest. I was asked to donate a piece of my work to a local art auction scholarship fundraiser and to participate in an Artists’ Studio Open House. Currently, I am still selling my work mostly through social media.
Wanting to give back to the community that had helped me so much I chose to pay it forward in the form of art therapy classes. I was comfortable speaking to and teaching groups of people and now I had this passion for art. I approached the Tammy Walker Cancer Center where I had received my treatments and told them my idea. I wanted to make a connection with the cancer center and the art community. I wanted to give art classes to current patients, survivors, caregivers, and family members of patients and survivors.
I started off giving classes to the support groups already in place at the center. They were very successful. After my first class I cried tears of joy because of some of the events and discussions that occurred in that first class. I knew I must be doing something right. I am now volunteering as the Art Therapy Director of the Tammy walker Cancer Center.
I have been in contact with several other artists about giving a presentation or workshop and sharing their stories if they have been personally affected by cancer. I will also continue to give classes. I would love to share my story at the conference not just about how I survived cancer but also about finding the silver lining in a crisis and ultimately rediscovering who I really was and finding peace through it all. I hope to hear other inspiring stories and how others have overcome. I hope that my story may inspire and bring hope to others.
You can read more about my journey and see my art at the following links:
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