Lilly Oncology on Canvass, is an art & narrative competition and exhibition for anyone touched by cancer. The biennial competition invites individuals from the United States and Puerto Rico, who were diagnosed with any type of cancer — as well as their families, friends, caregivers and healthcare providers — to express, through art and narrative, the life-affirming changes that give their cancer journeys meaning. Creating, viewing and talking about the disease can help patients and their loved ones cope with this serious illness. Winners’ prizes consist of donations made to the cancer charities of their choice. Following the competition, select artwork embarks on a tour of cancer centers, hospitals and patient advocacy group events.
This year, I entered my watercolor “Beautiful Courage” and narrative below. I can now announce that I am honored to have received 2nd place overall, and 1st place in the watercolor category in this year’s competition. My designated charity is The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and my prize award to them this year is $6000. I am beyond thrilled to have been able to support a cause that means so much to me by using my God-given gifts. I feel truly blessed!
This is the tenth year anniversary for Lilly Oncology on Canvass, and to mark it they put together The Hope Mural Project, doing ten murals in ten cities around the US and Puerto Rico. As part of my being one of the top three winners, I was invited, (along with a guest) to come to New York City to participate in painting one of these preselected murals, which would take place in Grand Central Terminal! There would also be interviews (yikes) and a celebratory dinner (yum). With all arrangements made and expenses covered, my husband and I went off to NYC. What an completely extraordinary experience!!! As I painted these huge panels on easels in the middle of Vanderbuilt Hall, I would stop to look up at the glorious chandeliers and beautiful interior and pinched myself to be sure I wasn’t dreaming.
Thank you Anita, Dennis, and all of the partners for making this trip one of my very best memories. Your kindness, empathy, and authentic caring for us, as survivors and artists, was incredible. It was a pleasure to meet artists Dennis Holliday and daughter Dannelle, Susan Schaffer and husband Paul, and Ellen Mayer (muralist artist), who I got to spend time with, paint next to, and share stories that connect us all. You all made the trip all the more memorable. Thank you Father God, for good people, good medicines, and for your healing hand upon me. But most of all, thank you for loving me beyond measure. This all came from you, and may it reflect your glory.
Cancer redefines everything. It changes how you spend your time, the definition of a “good day”, what you say to your loved ones, and what tomorrow really means. It shifts priorities, challenges livelihoods, and accentuates relationships. Cancer redefines the meaning of things. Things like hope, beauty, and courage.
This painting speaks to what the word courage means to me now that I have gone through cancer and survived. To me, courage need not be loud, prideful, or brash. Courage can be quiet resolve, silent determination, and resilience of spirit. Courage can be both fragile and strong. Courage doesn’t cower, but keeps striving for the light, and in doing so, radiates its own. Courage allows hope. Hope begets life. Life carries on.
By Lynnea Washburn