Although I'm not a wealthy person, I find it helpful to pay it forward. It helps to put life in perspective. Pick your passion and give back - even if it's just a tiny bit. . . I'd rather do something small than do nothing at all.
I AM A PARTNER WITH KIDS BEATING CANCER - www.kidsbeatingcancer.com
In 2012, I began a journey and the great priviledge of partnering with Kids Beating Cancer to bring the joy of art to many of the children going through cancer treatments. Kids Beating Cancer was created in 1992 by Margaret Guedes, in memory of her son, John Voight, who lost his battle with leukemia earlier that year. The KBC objective is to be the resource so children diagnosed with cancer, leukemia or related life threatening diseases will receive the best treatment regardless of their family's financial situation, while providing support for families as they face the challenging journey towards a cure. While serving over 7,000 of the sickest children in Central Florida and their families and beyond, she has raised over 10 million dollars, added over 37,000 new potential marrow donors to the national registry, and finally after years of tenacious advocacy, Margaret's ultimate goal, bringing the first and only pediatric marrow transplant center to Central Florida is a reality at Florida Hospital.
This has been an incredibly rewarding experience, bringing a level of understanding and compassion I would not have otherwise encountered. In hosting numerous painting parties for the children, some who had never verbalized their feelings started talking as they lost themselves in the creative painting process. I have met children who have undergone surgeries, chemo and terrible healing processes, who smile when they use paint with glitter. It makes me feel very small - they are the heroes, and they are my teachers.
In 2014, along with my artist assistant, Boris Ugartechea, I created a seven foot 3-D mural for the wall of the Treatment Room of the Kids Beating Cancer Pediatric Transplant Wing of the Florida Hospital Children's Center. Hopefully, when the children go there for treatments they will don their 3-D glasses and it might take their minds off what's going on around them. Even a little bit.