One day I was sitting at home. It was the day after I got my hair cut short. I thought I was stable but then I took a good look in the mirror, and I wasn’t comfortable with what I saw. I stared and thought about it. Then I took my journal (which I didn’t usually write in!) and picked up a pencil and started writing. The words just poured out onto the page. In a few minutes I had a written a poem called “Mirrors.” I didn’t share it with anyone. It was just for me. Then I met the folks from Purple Songs Can Fly project, and they asked if I wanted to write a song. I read them my poem, and they said, “Yes! You’ve already written a song. This is perfect.” So, I recorded my first song ever, “Mirrors.”
By Kaitlin, 15
Kaitlin participates in the Writers in the Schools (WITS) program at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center. She turned her poem “Mirrors” into a song through the wonderful Purple Songs Can Fly program. Click here to hear Kaitlin’s song “Mirrors.”
Being on the other side of cancer is easier than being in the middle. When you’re in the middle, it’s like being at sea and not knowing where you’re going. Some days were easy, while others were very challenging. The best parts of being sick were seeing all the friendly nurses and doing art and writing songs. The worst parts were losing some friends and seeing my mom in so much pain and not being able to see people I loved. I felt weak and nauseous a lot of the time, but now on the other side, I’ve learned about my self and life. I know kids can get very sick, I know I can get through tough times, I know that prayer works, and I know that my family will always be there for me. So, if you are going through hard times, don’t give up hope. Stay strong.
By Mary Jo, 11
September 2011 is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. To raise awareness, Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers (TCCHC) sponsors an extraordinary event called Making a Mark, the annual art exhibit presented by The Periwinkle Foundation.
The Periwinkle Foundation, which reaches more than 4,000 children every year, provides programs for children, young people, and their families who are challenged by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. It operates Camp Periwinkle, Camp YOLO, Family Camp, and the Long Term Survivor Program. It also supports the Arts & Creative Writing Program at the hospital, which culminates each year in Making a Mark. Writers in the Schools (WITS) is honored to partner with The Periwinkle Foundation and offer creative writing workshops in the clinic every week.
Every September I look forward to Making A Mark, which features art and creative writing by patients and their siblings. The poems, stories, and visual art make a powerful statement about the healing that the arts can bring to patients and their families affected by cancer and blood disorders. In addition to the framed artwork, there are copies available of The Splendid Review, a publication of creative writing by patients and siblings who worked during the year with a WITS writer.
One aspect I particularly love is the collaborative piece that a professional guest artist, Periwinkle volunteers, and the children create together. Come out and meet Guest Artist Ann Johnson and see the amazing Friendship Fence that she and the children have created. You are invited to Texas Children’s Cancer Center’s Making a Mark® art exhibition on Sunday, September 11, 2011, from 2-4 pm on the Auxiliary Bridge between Texas Children’s Hospital Clinical Care Center and West Tower. Complimentary valet parking will be provided at the Clinical Care Center and the reception is open to the public.
A panel of judges selected blue ribbon pieces of art in three groups they felt most effectively represented Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Past exhibits have been shown in Japan, Washington, D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, and numerous cities throughout the state of Texas. Don’t miss your chance to see this year’s inspirational exhibit presented by The Periwinkle Foundation.
Today the New York Times published a great story about Purple Songs Can Fly, an organization founded by Anita Kruse that helps young cancer patients write, record, and produce original music. Writers in the Schools collaborates with Purple Songs at Texas Children’s Cancer Center. Both WITS and Purple Songs are part of the Arts in Medicine Program at Texas Children’s Hospital led by Carol Herron. You can read more about the collaboration between WITS and Purple Songs in an article by WITS Writer Marcia Chamberlain here.