50 days, 50 states: PaintFest America supports cancer patients, survivors, families


Cancer patients, survivors, family, and friends all mixed up the colors of the rainbow and got to work on Tuesday. It was all a part of PaintFest America, a 50 day event hitting 50 states, starting at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

"We talk, that's what we do, we talk," Barbara Johnson said, smiling, as she stroked green paint on an otherwise white canvas.

For Johnson, it's all about catching up with good friends.

"We are family," she said, proudly.

The group, all gathered at a long table, each with a paint canvas in front of them, shares a strong bond.

"Here, we come and we are surrounded by people that share the journey that we've shared. It doesn't have to be breast cancer. Cancer is cancer," Johnson said.

On Tuesday, those still battling worked alongside survivors to paint a new picture.

"I like doing stuff like this and meeting other survivors that kind of have the same story that I have," said Robin Gray, who is undergoing chemotherapy.

Each story is told with every stroke of paint.

"It does look a little oranger!" Johnson said, of a friend's painting.

PaintFest America is aiming to brighten the day of patients, staff, families, and friends.

"Events like this, or art therapy in general, can help you to reconnect with who you are as a person," said Dr. Raquel Nunes.

The completed paintings will be donated to cancer centers.

"Your mind is off your pain and suffering. You see these beautiful paints and your mind goes," said Estela Escobar.

"We are survivors. We are more than conquerors, that's what we are, more than conquerors," Johnson said, smiling.

The event is hosted by the Foundation for Hospital Art and wraps up on August 23.

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