Cancer patients enjoy students' artwork

May 28, 2008 5:34:32 AM PDT
One teacher in Durham is exposing her students to a valuable life lesson.

Cancer survivor, Beth Palmer says it is not easy making the best of chemotherapy, but she has found a way to do it through an art show by kindergarten through 5th grade students at Durham's Mangum Elementary.

She says it gives those suffering something else to think about, and the shows mark another year the art teacher is cancer free. This is palmer's fifth show.

"It gave me a context for what I do, that would help me get on. Cause it's hard to teach when you don't feel good and it gave me just a joy," Palmer said.

And that joy is spreading. This year a patient actually wanted to buy a second grader's painting. But the artist didn't want to sell it.

"I thought it would be great to give it to her and it would be something very special," Second grader, Annabel Ampuja said.

At 8-years-old, Ampuja somehow understands.

"She hadn't been to work for a long time, I thought maybe something to cheer her up would be my painting," Ampuja said.

Valerie Joseph is the patient who wanted to buy the painting, for Linda --who she calls her sister-- because Linda takes it upon herself to come to every appointment so Joseph will not have to go through treatment, by herself.

"Her family is in Virginia, and I'm closer. So it just seemed natural for me to just fill in to be there for her," Linda said.

"Students know, they may not know exactly, but to bring joy in this way, through art -- it's the thing to do," Palmer said.

Just goes to show, even students can be teachers, especially when the art of giving, is so beautifully done.

The art is displayed at the Regional Cancer Care Center in Durham.


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