Girl Scouts Create Artistic Resources for Patients and Families

After visiting the NC Cancer Hospital in late spring with their Girl Scout leaders, Libby Hart and Lynn Frost, two troop members from Pittsboro troop 1200 decided to develop projects that would help cancer patients and families being treated at UNC.

Ellie Frost with her donated art supplies

Ellie Frost organized supplies for a portable art therapy cart, and Bailey Revels organized journals for cancer patients. Both young women will use their projects to complete the requirement for the Silver Award. Both were helped by other troop members to get supplies and other items donated for their projects.

Bailey, now a ninth grader at Northwood High School, keeps a journal herself and knows their inspirational value. “I think the journals will lift patients’ spirits knowing that someone made the journal for them. “

Bailey Revels with her donated journals

Her fellow scouts and journaling class members helped her to decorate the journals. Each journal’s cover page is decorated with bright colors, designs and inspirational quotations.  She says, “It’s a way to get thoughts and feelings out on the page. And later, an opportunity to look back at their cancer journey.

“My dad’s mom was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. Although I had taken part in a Relay for Life event, having someone in my family diagnosed with cancer changed my perspective. I know how tough it is for the patients and families.  Each journal begins with inspirational sayings and illustrations, to cheer up the recipient and give them food for thought as they start their journal.”

Bailey, with her mom Kathy (on left) and Pam Baker (on right)

Pam Baker a program coordinator for the Comprehensive Cancer Support Program’s Patient and Family Resource Center says, “The artwork in the journals is absolutely incredible.   Journaling is such an effective way for cancer patients to explore the emotions that a cancer diagnosis brings.  These journals give our patients an opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings by putting them in these exquisite journals.  We are so thankful to Bailey for reaching out to our patients in such a very special and personal way.”

Mimi Alvarez, a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist for oncology services and the Comprehensive Cancer Support Program, says, “I met with the troop and gave them an overview of our service, in particular with the pediatric population. Young kids have a difficult time giving voice to their internal experience of feelings, fears, and distress. I find that it is easier to engage kids in an activity at the same time we are talking about their experience. Many times, young children will give us clues of their ‘internal world’ through their art as well as their play. These activities facilitate their expression of their internal experiences, their hopes and dreams.

We did not have a portable, organized art cart to use.  Thanks to Ellie and her troop, now we have many art projects we can use to engage these young kids. How wonderful! I am very grateful. “

Ellie, also a ninth grader at Northwood High School, explains, “I realized how much it would help kids to relay their feelings through art in their therapy sessions, if I compiled this Art Cart. When I was younger, I constantly drew pictures, colored, and made art projects, because I struggled with expressing my emotions. Being asked probing questions would be hard enough for a young child about such a hard situation, without the questions coming from a stranger.

“I’m so happy I was given the opportunity to help, because I really did have a fantastic time collecting donations. I felt like I was truly able to make a difference in the lives of the kids, even if it was just providing them with some paper to doodle on.”