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Cancer patients, survivors use the healing power of art

‘Stars of Hope' 50-state mural unveiled in Aug. 23 in New York

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Cancer patients, survivors and their families participated in PaintFest America on Wednesday at Florida Hospital Cancer Institute in Orlando.

The two hour event unleashed creativity from each painter in many forms as they used paint-by-numbers creations to escape the daily realities of having cancer. 

“It’s pretty high intensity when you’re taking care of oncology patients. It’s always serious,” said Nora VandenBrink, oncology education coordinator for the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute. 

“You have to take a few moments as caregivers to have some healing for ourselves,” VandenBrink said.

In addition, one special pair of painters painted the state flower and bird that will be featured in a nationwide mural entitled, “Stars of Hope,” a project consisting for murals from each state.

The project from the Foundation for Hospital Art started on July 5 and runs for 50 days until Aug. 23 and visits a healthcare facility in a different state each day. 

“When patients are painting, they forget about their pain,” said Gwenn Lindsay, a longtime volunteer for the foundation. “It gets their mind off their pain and troubles for a while.”

Each of the participating states murals will be returned after the unveiling in New York on Aug. 23.