Wings of Hope Butterfly Exhibit Brings Beauty to Cancer Patients

Published Monday, January 20, 2020 at 3:39 pm
Until recently, when radiation oncology patients entered the long hallway at Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center to receive their treatments, they were greeted with a long blank wall, no windows or decoration and dim lighting. The radiation therapy team expressed a need for something to brighten and beautify the journey for patients.
 
They brought their idea to the Cancer Resource Alliance (CRA) Art Committee, and the Wings of Hope project was born. The group chose origami butterflies as a way to create a vibrant wall of color, bringing beauty to the area. Around the world, people view the butterfly as representing endurance, change, transformation and hope.
 
The Art Committee created opportunities for patients to make origami butterflies. Mary Morgan, a member of the Art Committee, took on the task of making pre-folded butterflies so that it would be easy for many to participate, and she also helped patients and caregivers make their own butterflies. Each person was encouraged to personalize their butterfly in some way—with words of hope, their name or name of a loved one, and/or date of completion of treatment.
 
During the last six months of 2019, hundreds of butterflies were folded from papers of many different colors and patterns. After the butterflies were personalized, they were ready to be part of the Wings of Hope wall. 
 
On January 4, 2020, the Art Committee gathered to begin the installation of butterflies, choosing a Saturday so patients receiving treatment would not be disturbed. As the art committee members worked, a wave of colors began to fill the 16-foot-long plexiglass display, creating a rainbow effect. The impact of the colors was immediately transformative and uplifting.
 
Each member of the Art Committee has been touched by cancer in some way; many are cancer survivors. They know from personal experience how important it is to create uplifting opportunities for patients and caregivers going through this journey.
 
As patients complete their last radiation treatment, they will be invited to make and personalize their own butterflies to celebrate the completion of their treatment. Another plexiglass panel will soon be added so this display can continue to grow and be a symbol of hope for future patients.
 
The Cancer Resource Alliance (CRA) is a comprehensive team of healthcare professionals, business partners, cancer caregivers and cancer survivor volunteers. This group was established in 2006 as an outreach arm of Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center.
 

CRA Art Committee Members, left to right: Donna Warren, Nancy Beltz, Mary Morgan, Sue Creech and Beth Andrews.

Ruby Harper (center) placed a butterfly after finishing her radiation treatments, surrounded by Radiation Therapists Melanie Thomas, Amy Isaacs, Katie Neibaur, and Holly Fletcher (left-right).

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