30 participants contribute to ‘Expressions of Courage’ art exhibit at UK cancer center for National Cancer Survivorship Month

The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center held its first “Expressions of Courage” event, an art exhibit showcasing art connected to an experience with a cancer diagnosis or created in memory of a Markey patient, on June 6 as part of National Cancer Survivorship Month.

The artistic entries from the 30 participants who responded were on display in the Combs Research Building at Markey. They included paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, and quilting as well as performing and literary art performances, Allison Perry and Abby Besson report for UKNow.

“The artwork is very moving and inspiring, and actually will bring tears to your eyes if you read some of the pieces,” Cindy Robinson, a nurse practitioner at Markey and one of the organizers of the event, told the authors. ” We have some pieces here from patients that are no longer with us, and we personally know those people.”

Expressions of Courage was made possible by gifts from the Markey Cancer Foundation and Biological Systems Consulting, Inc.

Norton Cancer Center and Markey patient Phillip Meeks contributed a drawing created by his daughter depicting the “unlikely good fortune of his treatment.”

Meeks was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2012 and required a bone marrow transplant to survive, the authors write. As an African-American – a population that makes up around seven percent of the bone marrow registry – and an adoptee without biological siblings or parents to get tested, the odds of finding a match were against him.

Upon admission to the hospital, Meeks found a token underneath his hospital bed that said “Believe in Miracles” on one side and “Faith” on the other. He told the authors that he took this token as a sign from God that he wasn’t alone and to not be afraid. This token was the inspiration for his daughters art.

Meeks received his life-saving transplant in January 2013. He told the authors that not only was Expressions of Courage a day to showcase talent, but a day survivors could show their appreciation to the staff of Markey.

“I just want to give back,” Meeks said. “That’s my big thing. How can you thank so many people that are involved in saving your life? There’s not a gift that you can give that’s big enough. Hopefully this is my one little piece to say thank you for everything that everybody has done for me.”

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