Art therapy program helps cancer patients stay positive

Art and cancer. The two are meeting up in a really mind boggling path at McLaren Flint.

“Sometimes it’s about getting the pain out and sometimes it’s about getting the joy out too,” said Lisa Hayward.

With each scribble in her notebook, Hayward finds comfort. Comfort in facing life’s obstacles.

“I felt like there’s this massive pain inside of me that nobody else understood and I couldn’t find the words to express it,” Hayward stated.

Until she was acquainted with the art treatment program at Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Flint.

A free program offered to anybody moved by cancer in the network.

“I heard about the art therapy program when I came for radiation back in May of 2016,” said Hayward.

Hayward was diagnosed with breast cancer the year before and has since finished treatment.

She’s currently cancer free, yet utilizes uses art therapy to cope with the emotional side of her recovery.

“It has sent me free from a lot of pain that I was carrying inside of me,” said Hayward.

Erin Keith leads the program. She may not be a cancer patient, but can relate.

“I actually lost my mother to breast cancer when I was 10 years old, she was only 38,” said Keith.

Keith used art as a way to move forward. She says it’s the process of healing that makes art therapy so rewarding.

“There’s so many times I’ve seen people sitting at the same table say, I get that, I feel that same way, I can understand what you’re going through,” Keith stated.

“It has given me a lot more self-confidence knowing that I’m important and I have something to give this world,” said Hayward.

Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Flint recently received a $60,000 grant from the Genesee Health Plan.

It will allow the art therapy program to expand and be offered full time.

Keith says you don’t need to be an artist, just be open-minded and give it a try.

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