ALEXANDRIA, La. (CALB) – Learning that you have cancer is the start of a scary journey. Pineville artist Sylvia Kerry went on that journey not too long ago. Thankfully, today, she’s in remission. She wanted to give something back to the people who helped fight the battle with her, and also inspire others who are still fighting the battle themselves.
“I paint things that I like,” Kerry told us on a sunny morning in her River Oaks Square Arts Center studio. “I like nature. I just started really doing landscapes in the past couple of years.”
The walls of her studio are lined with some of her favorite creations.
The pandemic provided a one-two punch. She was stuck at home when life came to a screeching halt, and she learned during that time that her mother was diagnosed with cancer.
“I was frustrated that I couldn’t go be with her to help her with her recuperation period,” she said. “It was a struggle.”
Out of that struggle came inspiration.
“I thought of this painting with this woman who is wading through struggles,” Kerry told us. “I did that painting and I walked with my mom through her cancer treatments.”
Then, Sylvia experienced her own struggle, an unwanted surprise during her mammogram.
“When my doctor gave me my diagnosis, it wasn’t, ‘You have cancer,’” said Kerry. “She was very kind, very warm, and, ‘We got this.’”
It was breast cancer. Stage one. Caught early. Kerry had surgery in Baton Rouge and then radiation started at the Rapides Cancer Center.
“Everyone at Rapides was just so kind,” she said. “They treat you like family there.”
The treatment worked and Kerry is in remission. The cancer journey inspired her to give back, and she thought that particular painting she created during the pandemic was just the way to do it.
“Rapides is really getting their cancer center up and going,” Kerry said. “I just thought it would be a nice little gift to let them put it there and share with folks.”
The Rapides Cancer Center was happy to accept the gift.
“It’s very meaningful to know that one of our patients did this in response to the treatment she received her,” said Karen Hathorn, the Administrative Director of Oncology at Rapides Regional Medical Center.
That painting now graces the walls right outside the spot Kerry received her radiation treatments.
“It’s also a great story for us to share with our current patients when they notice or ask about the picture, the painting, it’s easy for us to say there’s a story behind it. Let me share,” Hathorn said.
The colors are just as vibrant as the message.
“It gives you hope,” Kerry said. “I just hope that when people look at it, that they might say you know there is hope after cancer. Cancer is not a death sentence anymore.”
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