This year I am a sixth-grade adviser and all year students focus on the character trait of perseverance. The sixth graders complete a project of their choosing to work on and fulfill over the course of the school year. I decided to work alongside the sixth graders and complete my very own perseverance project. Over the course of my 6 chemotherapy sessions I started a drawing for someone who has helped me during my fight against cancer. My drawings not only occupied me during my long days in the treatment suite, it got other patients talking and interested. The nurses would come by and chart my progress on my several bags of chemotherapy drugs and check my progress on my drawing too. It softened the experience and uplifted the atmosphere and allowed me to share my gift with others. I finished my 6 chemotherapy treatments on 12/13/18 and I will continue immunotherapy through the fall. I learned so much about using my artwork to create my own art therapy during the toughest time in my life.
I now look forward to using my artwork to share the deeply personal experience of undergoing chemotherapy and to show my appreciation for the people that helped along the way. In doing so, I hope to also spread the message that early detection saves lives. I will help others going through breast cancer by using my artwork as an informative and active platform for breast cancer awareness.
Challah for Katie: 8/30/18
After my diagnosis Katie was one of the first people by my side and I am honored to have her as my best friend. She is a strong woman who encourages me daily, loves me for who I am, and always has my back. We have been through thick and thin together and she is an inspiration to me. Katie bakes challah weekly and this drawing is dedicated to her love of baking.
Donuts for Jen: 9/20/18
Jen is the assistant to the director at my school and has helped me so much this school year by finding me subs, scheduling and rescheduling for me. She even set an alarm to check on me in the mornings! Being able to work all year has saved my sanity and given me a reason to get up every morning, and a large part of the reason I could work was Jen. She made everything as easy for me as possible and I can’t thank her enough. Jen loves being included on treat Friday’s and this donut drawing is dedicated to her and her love of donuts (especially Boston crème).
Apple for all my teacher friends: 10/11/18
There are so many teachers from my current school Summit Country Day and my previous school, McAuley High School, to thank! This apple is for all of you. You have taught me to think critically, to be thoughtful, and you show me daily what it means to be a good teacher and role model. You all have been so supportive this year sending me texts, making me dinner and covering my classes. I can’t thank you enough!!! This apple is for every teacher that has helped me this year. Being able to continue teaching during my fight made my heart full and made me fight even harder.
Blueberries for my family: 11/1/18
My family has been by my side since the first day we got that terrible phone call, “It’s cancer.” They took off work and within two hours my dad, mom, sister and brother-in-law were at our door. They have come down countless times this year to take me to chemotherapy, to be with me while I was sick, and to help me recover after my double mastectomy. During my childhood, we would collect blueberries (really saskatoons, a different type of berry we learned later from my grandfather Bobby) that grew on bushes outside out cabin in Maine. Our family vacations are such cherished memories and when I am not feeling well or anxious my mom always tells me, “Walk through the cabin in Maine.” I let my mind drift as I walk around on those squeaky wooden boards and think of all the beautiful times I have spent with my loved ones there. I literally wouldn’t be here without my family. They have taken the best care of me this year and have shown me unconditionally love every step of the way. These blueberries are for you Dad, Mom, Chelsea and Hayden, and I look forward to all the future vacations and experiences we are yet to share.
Vodka tonic for Laura: 11/21/18
Laura is my mom’s neighbor and one of her best friends. She works for McKesson, which is a medical supply company. She has given us so much advice and free samples, too! She has constantly checked in on my mom and me and her compassion is endless. She even brought my mom down to Cincinnati for my final round of chemotherapy. They totally surprised me and got to be there for the final beep of the last bag of chemo drugs! Laura’s favorite drink is vodka tonic, and I hope that after a long day of helping others she treats herself to a nice cold drink. This one’s for you Laura!
Pizza for Michael: 12/13/18
In August I got to marry the man of my dreams and my best friend. We had a beautiful wedding surrounded by our family and closest friends. Despite this bliss, we were scared, uncertain and nervous as I would begin my chemotherapy 5 days later. Michael held my hand every step of the way, told me I was beautiful daily, even as my hair fell out. He assured me in my darkest moments, wiped away my tears, and continued to make me laugh. To say this wasn’t easy is an understatement, but together we can get through anything. We are soul mates and our bond is only strengthened by what we have overcome together. I love him with all my heart, and I fought to grow old with him by my side. This pizza slice is dedicated to him and his obsession with pizza. Love you boo!
I was fortunate enough to first try book making in Cholula, Mexico when I studied abroad through the Ohio University Art and Design Program. After returning from the trip I got a job as a Conservation Technician in the Ohio University Alden Library, where I repaired books and created archival boxes to preserve books and documents. I also worked at Langsam Library at the University of Cincinnati during my Graduate Studies as a Conservation Technician. I have enjoyed preserving and repairing books and my skills easily transferred to my instruction at Buck's Rock Camp and teaching in my own classroom.