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Guardian Angels

Feb 19, 2013

Guardian Angels

Posted by Karen Coughlin on Tue, Feb 19, 2013 - 2:13 PM in

         

Mercy Cancer Center Nurse Jane Westfall Awarded “Best Mixed Media” In Lilly Oncology On Canvas National Art Competition

Jane Westfall considers herself someone who likes to try her hand in many different kinds of art. She makes unique jewelry, bookmarks for cancer survivors and enjoys drawing.

An oncology nurse at Mercy Medical Center, Westfall learned about Lilly Oncology On CanvasSM: Expressions of a Cancer Journey art competition from a pharmaceutical representative who worked with Mercy staff to host the art exhibition at Mercy Cancer Center last year. She lost her mother and a close friend to breast cancer and, through her profession, has been touched by many more cancer patients as she shares in their journey.

Inspired, she went home and wrote a haiku poem. The words flowed effortlessly as she thought about her mother and her friend…her guardian angels.

Salt invisible
In teardrops, so too are my
Guardian Angels.

Westfall then weaved her haiku poem into pointillism – a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots are applied in patterns to form an image. She says the poem is meant to subliminally appear in the tear down a woman’s cheek. “It represents the fact that we don’t always realize our guardian angels are with us,” Westfall says.

Westfall’s art was chosen as a Lilly Oncology On Canvas winner in the “Best Mixed Media by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver” category. She received a $1,000 donation in her name to the cancer-charity of her choice. Westfall says she chose Mercy Cancer Center as the recipient of the monetary donation because of her strong belief in the great work of her co-workers and physicians to care for individuals with cancer throughout their entire journey. Westfall’s piece is a part of the Lilly Oncology On Canvas exhibition touring cancer centers, hospitals and patient advocacy events nationwide. Her piece will also be featured in the 2012 Lilly Oncology On Canvas art book.

Westfall’s mother lived in Cincinnati during her five-year battle with cancer before she passed away in December 2010. At that time, Westfall says she felt the physical distance – not being able to be at her doctor’s appointments or with her during her treatment. “I’m comforted by the closeness I feel today,” Westfall says. “I feel she’s watching over me, and I’m very much at peace.”

Westfall shares one such experience. After her mother’s passing, she says she focused on wanting to make a happy home, and it started with her front door. She said the front door is the first thing you see and it represents the place where you’re welcomed into her home. This led her to the design department at a local home improvement store where she sat in front of a computer and selected all the features she most wanted in her custom door. It included beveled glass windows, solid wood and detailed trim. After completing the process, she printed the design of her custom dream door.

The price was far out of budget, but just for fun, she visited another home store to shop their selection. As she made her way to the clearance section, Westfall says she couldn’t believe what she saw – her custom door. She showed the sales clerk her print out and neither could believe her exact door was already made, just to order, and even more remarkable, was on sale for 75 percent off. Westfall says she felt her mother was right there with her, and she had to have that door.

“I can recall many instances where my mother and friend have intervened on my behalf that have outnumbered sheer coincidence,” Westfall says. “I now feel I have an extra set of eyes and hands to guide me and my family through the future.”

Lilly Oncology On Canvas Art Competition and Exhibition is presented by Lilly Oncology and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS). To date, more than 4,100 individuals touched by cancer have submitted artwork and narratives to Oncology On Canvas. For further information about Lilly Oncology On Canvas, please visit www.LillyOncologyOnCanvas.com.

About Karen Coughlin

Author Avatar

Karen S. Coughlin, RN, MSN, is the administrative director of Mercy Cancer Services. She brings over 20 years of administrative and program development experience to her role. Karen received her education at Kent State University and The University of Akron. She has served on the board of the Stark County American Cancer Society, Supportive Care Coalition for Palliative Care, Margaret B. Shipley Child Health Clinic, Northeast Ohio Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and as chair of the Canton Relay for Life. 

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