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Competition Winners

Mixed Media by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer
Best of Exhibition – 1st Prize Winner
Best Entry by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer
Best Mixed Media by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2012, and I’m currently halfway through chemotherapy. As a long-time quilter, I’ve expressed my journey through my fabric work. I hand-dye all my fabrics, starting with 100 percent white cotton.

This quilt shows the work of chemo as it flows through the port into my blood stream. The colored beads represent the chemo, and the white beads signify white blood cells helping my body move towards health. I visualize the future in the smallest plume on the right side of the quilt, a time when my blood stream will carry plenty of white blood cells—no chemo or cancer present.

I designed and made this quilt, using a combination of machine and hand stitching.

Chemo Brain
Photography by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer
Best of Exhibition – 2nd Prize Winner
Best Photography by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer
My back was in incredible pain, I had lost the use of my legs. Upon arriving at the emergency center at the hospital, I was given x-rays, MRIs and other tests. My body was riddled with tumors, which shattered some of my vertebrae. If I survived the operation, which turned out to be eight hours long, I would have to survive the cancer treatments. This picture is my representation of what chemo treatments feel like. Although I look the same after each treatment, internally I feel like my cells and cellular structure are melting away. Slowly, my body changes; the landscape gives way to the toxins. I fight to regain my immune system and some sense of normalcy, only to do the chemo treatments all over again.

The Dance
Watercolor by a Healthcare Professional
Best of Exhibition – 3rd Prize Winner
Best Entry by a Healthcare Professional
Best Watercolor by a Healthcare Professional
The bridge is narrow. Water threatens to submerge the fragile structure. It is this bridge that she must cross. She dances like a ballerina with beautiful, graceful movements. She dances around the sudden appearance of widening cracks. She leaps over crumbling rocks, maintaining grace and dignity all the while.

I have seen this dance many times. The dance of the cancer survivor is an amazing testament to the human spirit. It is a dance of faith, hope and love.

Strong and Free in Spirit
Photography by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver
Best Photography by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver
The inspiration for this photograph stems from the role of Evey Hammond, played by Natalie Portman, in the movie “V for Vendetta.” A specific portion of the movie depicts her being tortured, beaten and trampled on for information, which she refuses to disclose. When she is sentenced to be executed, she remains at peace with her choice and steadfast in her beliefs.

My wife, through her focus, embodies these qualities. Amidst her diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer that has metastasized to her liver and bones, the 6 rounds of chemotherapy, her bilateral mastectomy, the 6+ weeks of radiation, the hormone therapy, and her upcoming bilateral oophorectomy, she remains an adoring wife, an incredible mother to our twin toddler boys and the embodiment of courage.

New Life
Acrylic by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer
Best Acrylic by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer
It was March 2006 when my illness was diagnosed as breast cancer. I have received several surgeries, four months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation therapy. But my mind is fully charged with strength and energy. My life has changed so much since I’ve had cancer. Cancer has brought me hair loss, but I have gained the love of God. A new life with happiness led me to volunteer at one of the Korean organizations for disabled people, establish a department for disabled people in my church, and volunteer at the local cancer center. Now I dream of becoming a medical doctor. It is not easy to get into medical school for a 40-year-old cancer survivor, but I cannot give up. I am still in hormone therapy now, but I am enjoying every moment of my life.

Out of the Blue
Watercolor by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver
Best Watercolor by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver
My neighbor, Phil began his cancer journey when diagnosed with colon cancer. Shortly thereafter my first grandchild, Ethan, began his journey at birth with neuroblastoma. Since then my only and younger sister, Denise, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and my dear friend, Dianne, was diagnosed with melanoma…all of this within a relatively short period of time, and all of this out of the blue.

Cancer is Just a State of Mind
Photography by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver
Best Photography by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver
My story begins as an unusual journey. Previously, I entered myself in this contest as a person diagnosed with cancer. Now, I find I’m entering my daughter. As I take her picture, she is fighting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and I am the photographer fighting myelodysplasia. It is her “first contest” in the cancer world, as she lays at rest after a workout from chemo. She looks so peaceful, but the cells inside her body are wreaking havoc. Very rarely have I seen her so still, so I run to get my camera to savor the moment in time. The sun is filtering through the blinds, warming her head and mind. Be at peace my angel. Sleep and dream of better days ahead.

Dancing in the Rain
Mixed Media by a Healthcare Professional
Best Mixed Media by a Healthcare Professional
Cancer is the sudden storm that shatters the summer day. The traveler, caught unawares, must set aside all her plans. The pelting rain stings her skin like hundreds of tiny needles. The downpour drenches her clothes, which drape heavily over her frame, and chill her to the bone. Surrounded by grayness and misery, she grows weary and cries out, “Will this storm never end? Will the sun ever shine again?”

Then softly, from deep within, comes a whisper. She smiles as she recognizes her old friend. It is Hope, which takes the form of a child who giggles, then grabs her hand and gleefully teaches her how to dance in the rain.

Spirit Alive
Oil by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer
North Carolina
Best Oil by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer
Nobody ever told me that my journey to remission would be easy, but I’ve learned that good can be found—even in the most trying circumstances. The excellent care I received from the medical staff, along with the love, support and prayers from family, friends and even strangers ignited the spirit in me. It enabled me to maintain a positive attitude, to show courage and confidence, to stay active, and to be thoughtful of others. My faith continues to become stronger, and I face the future with enthusiasm.

Pastel by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer
Best Pastel by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer
I am a plein air painter. I feel very close to God when I am painting on location. It is a form of meditation for me. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, I continued to paint, although it was difficult during my radiation treatments. Now that I am well again, I paint with renewed enthusiasm and vigor. I am also more aware of some of the hazards of my materials and take extra precautions to make sure I handle them with care. My goal is to stay well. I thank God every day for the gift He has given me. I enjoy sharing my art with others and helping people appreciate the value of life and the beauty of nature around them.

A Cup of Hope
Oil by a Healthcare Professional
Best Oil by a Healthcare Professional
As a social worker in a hospital and cancer center, I journey with patients as they anxiously navigate the diagnosis and treatment process. Victims cannot be prepared for the social, emotional and physical changes they will face. For all victims of cancer, I share “A Cup of Hope”—a way that best preserves dignity and quality of life.

My hope is for patients and caregivers to educate themselves about the disease process, treatments, side effects, and prognosis. Research has achieved many milestones toward improving cancer survival. My hope is that we will continue to take aggressive steps to reach a cure. This cup of daffodils represents hope for comfort and peace as you share your time in this life with friends and family.

Give me your Eyes so I can See
Photography by a Healthcare Professional
South Carolina
Best Photography by a Healthcare Professional
I am a caregiver for those with cancer. Every day I look into the eyes of my patients and ask them to give me their eyes so I can see. I want them to show me what it is that brings them back to the waiting rooms, the chemo and the needles.

Every line of their eyes expresses who they are and how they got here. This is what I see: perseverance, anger, patience, struggle, hope and most of all, determination. These people are our fighters.

These are the eyes of those who fight and set an example to others as they win the battle against cancer.

The Path
Watercolor by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer
Best Watercolor by a Person Diagnosed with Cancer
When I first embarked on my cancer journey, the path ahead was daunting. There was so much to learn about my cancer, decisions to make about my treatment, and a wide range of emotions to navigate. The terrain felt unknown, overgrown and overwhelming.

With every tentative step, the path began to reveal itself to me. As I slowly walked, the way became clear, and over time I realized that if I just looked up, my path was dotted with signs of hope to guide me along the way. This short poem from my cancer journal inspired the painting:

Even when you cannot see
the path that you must walk
once you step out in faith
you’ll find your way by heart

Guardian Angels
Mixed Media by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver
Best Mixed Media by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver
Salt invisible
In teardrops, so too are my
Guardian Angels.

This haiku poem describes my feelings of sadness with the loss of my good friend and my mother, yet sensing a new presence in my life in the form of guardian angels. I lost both women to breast cancer a few months apart of each other, which only compounded my loneliness. I had endured their journey with them for 5 tumultuous years. Shortly after the initial shock of losing them, I began to perceive their presence in my life. I can recall many instances where they have intervened on my behalf that have outnumbered sheer coincidence. I now feel I have an extra set of eyes and hands to guide me and my family through the future.

A Love Song in Paint
Acrylic by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver
Best Acrylic by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver
Dear Kerry,

“Don’t buy me that plush. They just collect dust,” you said. Later you admitted, “I REALLY want that bear—do you want to be more than friends?” I did. You thought no one could ever love you—you felt too damaged but I did too.

A year later you were too sick to go to our wedding reception. Your mom put your wedding veil on that bear—it went instead.

Now I’m picking up your ashes, the paintings I did to cheer you up and your bear. Holding it, I glow and think of you. Thank you for being in my life, Kerry.

Rethink Normal
Oil by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver
Best Oil by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver
There are moments in everyone’s lives that are so profound, that they make you rethink normal. This painting depicts a three-year-old girl coping with the fact that she is about to receive chemo. She had just been told that she needed to be a “big girl” and that it would be “ok” by another cancer patient who, herself, was just five years old. When I witnessed this exchange, I thought how incredible both these young ladies were and how wise they were beyond their years.

I have worked as a volunteer with an art-in-medicine program for many years, which has definitely brought a different dimension to my life that I did not know existed.

Creating Connections of Hope and Light
Acrylic by a Healthcare Professional
Best Acrylic by a Healthcare Professional
In my work as an art therapist, I am inspired by how powerful the art-making experience can be for a group of cancer survivors. My painting, “Creating Connections of Hope and Light,” expresses the moment when the individual paths of cancer survivors intersect in the art therapy support group. By creating personally meaningful artwork together, the cancer survivors form deep connections to each other and share empowering images of hope, light and growth. Together they are stronger, brighter and no longer alone in the journey of survivorship.

Pastel by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver
Best Pastel by a Family Member, Friend or Caregiver
When a picture of a butterfly appeared
On my mom’s hospital room door,
I knew.
The next day,
My mom, a never-smoker,
Passed away from lung cancer.

Months later, I became a runner.
I ran away from the grief.
One day, I ran through a path that released butterflies.
From that moment,
I started running through the grief,
sometimes melting into tears.

Now I run
So I can feel my mom around me,
In every mile,
In every step,
With every breath.
I draw strength from her to keep going.
The pastel drawing reflects how running transformed me,
Freed me from the grief.
I like to think that the butterflies
Crossing my path
Are my mom,
Who is always with me—
Especially when I run.

Sprints, Furlongs or Miles
Pastel by a Healthcare Professional
Best Pastel by a Healthcare Professional
Cancer survivors are on a journey
For soundness of their bodies.
They are on a healing track
With a coordinated plan of treatment.

The survivors require a winning spirit
And fiber of a racehorse,
As sometimes the mire comes along for the ride.
The journey is not so glamorous
As a run for the roses,
Yet, I see their persevering hearts and minds.

Break out of the gate, survivor
Triumph beyond your morning line.

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This site is intended for U.S. and Puerto Rico residents age 18 and over.

This website displays the images and narratives received by Lilly Oncology and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship in connection with the 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012 Oncology On CanvasSM art competitions. The artists have represented they submitted original artwork for which they were the sole owner. Lilly Oncology is not responsible for the originality of any such submission. Images cannot be modified for commercial or advertising use, nor can they be copied or reproduced in any form without Lilly's written permission.

ON85710 12/2013