By Haley Metzger ‘18
February is the month of cancer prevention. In 2017, an estimated 1.7 million people will be diagnosed with cancer, and in the US there will be about 600,000 deaths from cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that approximately one-third of the cases of the most common cancers in the U.S. could be prevented by eating healthy, being active, and staying lean. That’s an estimated 374,000 cases of cancer in the United States that might never happen.
These facts have always shocked me. Facts like these that prove cancer is, and should be, beatable. As a freshman, motivated by this information, I started Cards Against Cancer, an art service project designed to raise awareness and help cancer patients, when a family friend asked me to brainstorm activities for the Johns Hopkins Bayview cancer center.
Through Cards Against Cancer, volunteers decorate blank cards for different holidays and purposes and then forward them to the hospital cancer wards so that the children, parents, adults, and family members may use them. With the cards, the patients and family members can easily communicate with friends and loved ones, and if the patients are terminal, it is a meaningful way to send cards ahead of time in case they won’t make it to celebrate a friend or family member’s milestone. This project prevents cancer from interfering with patients and families from celebrating events and sending love to their families, and having cards at hand makes the lives of people in the hospital easy. Card-giving in general is a positive experience for the giver and the receiver, and the real mission here is to make life with cancer positive. Cancer patients being able to take control of their life amidst chaos is empowering, and I believe grounding.
At NDP, the National Art Honors Society and Middle Level have joined together to work on Cards Against Cancer, and the plan is to reach out to the entire school and surrounding communities with this wonderful activity. Most recently, we held a card-making activity in the Middle Level as a big sister-little sister project. Not only does Cards Against Cancer aim to create positivity for cancer patients, but it is a positive experience to make art and send it to another person. The girls in the Middle Level added even more depth to the project by bonding with the people around them and creating life-long friendships.
Now hopefully you are asking, “How can I be involved? This sounds great!” Well, I have the answer for you: Cards Against Cancer will be doing more events soon, so please join us. Everyone’s creativity in this process is so special and beautiful, and the effect it has on the patients is profound. Hope to see you soon!