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January 11, 2018 06:17 PM

Turning Art Into Therapy

If you or a loved one has to spend months in the hospital, it may be hard to focus on the positives.

But one program is hoping to take your mind off of the illness, at least for awhile. 

"Oh give me the orange egg! I have to have at least one orange thing," Tracy Amos said.

Orange isn't Tracy's favorite color, but it's the color that represents leukemia. 

"He was diagnosed September 14. He was brought down here by ambulance from Watertown," Tracy said. 

Tracy's 8-year-old son Javier has acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, the most common type of cancer in children. 

"I did not know what was going on. I was confused, I was lost. I didn't even know what it was," Tracy said. 

Javier's last four months have involved chemotherapy, blood transfusions, and something you may not expect... Art. 

"He seemed to really enjoy it. His whole family really enjoyed it and I love when parents get involved too. It's just cool to see them interact and have this positive moment together," artist Marlee Hayes said. 

"The pain. Thinking of what's going to happen next? Away. Just for that half an hour, 45 minutes. It just took it away," Tracy said. 

The Sanford Arts Program receives all its supplies from grant money, and is free for all patients. 

"It doesn't have to be just one thing. If you're not into painting you can pick up a ukulele and learn how to play string music, you can sculpt, you can do all sorts of different things," Hayes said. 

Javier is putting his own twist on a snow globe by instead making a beach globe. 

"They have the ability to say no. They don't have that ability with a lot of other employees here at Sanford because it's kind of like, this is what you're going to do because it's for your health. With the art thing, it's cool because it's a choice," Hayes said. 

"What do you think?" Hayes said.

"It's good," Javier said. 

"Do you want to do another one?" Hayes said.

"Yeah!" Javier said.  

A simple task, turning a complicated experience into a positive memory. 

If you're interested in participating in the Sanford Arts Program, click here.

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