"After being in the hospital and experiencing the care I received from all the nurses, it changed my life. It really shaped me into the person I am today, and now I get to work where I was treated."
Let's March to the beat of our own drum!
This month, we’re featuring designs inspired by the artwork of Caitlyn, 27. Shortly after her 13th birthday in 2009, Caitlyn was diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma. A soccer enthusiast, Caitlyn noticed a small bump on her gums after receiving a hit to the face with a soccer ball. Her dentist ordered X-rays to rule out bone damage and referred her to an oral surgeon who diagnosed her with a tumor.
Caitlyn was immediately admitted to MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital. As her tumor doubled in size every 24 hours, Caitlyn started chemotherapy. She underwent five rounds of chemotherapy, losing all her hair in the process. While Caitlyn did not initially consider herself an artist, Children's Art Project significantly impacted her journey. The therapeutic art helped her cope by taking her mind off treatment and allowing her to engage in something she loved. She made certain never to miss an art class and cherished the opportunity to make friends with other kids having a similar experience.
Over the years, Caitlyn has amassed a collection of Children’s Art Project ornaments inspired by her artwork, which she proudly displays annually on a small Christmas tree. She also sends products featuring her art to family and loved ones as gifts. Her parents send Christmas cards featuring her art as their holiday greetings. Caitlyn frequently collaborates with her sister on artistic projects, using the skills she acquired from Children's Art Project to make party decorations, including her son's first birthday party. Caitlyn loves being a mom and spending quality time with her child.
After five rounds of chemotherapy and more than 13 years of being cancer-free, Caitlyn's journey has come full circle. Currently, she works as a nurse in Pediatrics at MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital. Before her hospital stay, Caitlyn thought she would become a hair stylist, but the care she received from the doctors and nurses at the Children’s Cancer Hospital significantly influenced her decision to become a nurse. Caitlyn said, "After being in the hospital and experiencing the care I received from all the nurses, it changed my life. It really shaped me into the person I am today, and now I get to work where I was treated." Daily, she collaborates with nurses and doctors who treated her and have had the pleasure of seeing her grow into the woman she is today.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Children's Art Project. Each month, we’ll provide updates, promote survivorship, and share uplifting stories about what makes Children’s Art Project special.