“The news was devastating at first, but we got through it with Sarah’s smile,” Valentino, Sarah’s father said. “Honestly, she smiled through everything.”
Sixteen-year-old Sarah was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January 2018. She immediately began an aggressive form of chemotherapy at Advocate Children’s Hospital – Park Ridge in Illinois. Treatment kept her in the hospital for two to three weeks at a time. Life as they knew it changed forever. But one thing that stayed constant was Sarah’s optimism and love for art.
During the long hospital stays, Valentino said art therapy was the most effective activity to keep Sarah’s spirits up. Art therapy is a common therapeutic technique to encourage patients to freely express themselves through different mediums of art.
As a budding young artist, Sarah painted a barren tree on top of an array of beautiful colors. She said it symbolizes her diagnosis. She remembers doctors describing the way the lymphoma had spread in her lungs, just like a tree spreads its branches.
“Art is the way she expresses herself. Whenever she’s down or feeling bad about things, she’d go and make art,” Amie, Sarah’s mom said.
Sarah’s Artwork Available at a Michaels Store Near You
Michaels Stores selected Sarah’s painting of the tree to be featured on a fall tote bag that is now sold at Michaels Stores across the nation.
“She was thrilled! She wants to be an art teacher or a special effects makeup artist for movies when she grows up,” Amie said.
The totes are available at Michaels Stores while supplies last. Proceeds of each bag go directly to Starlight, so we can continue our mission to bring joy and comfort to hospitalized kids and their families.
More Exciting News
In June, doctors told Sarah that she’s officially in remission and there are currently no cancer cells present in her body. She’ll have to go in for scans routinely for five years to monitor her progress, but in the meantime, she’ll be heading back to high school with her friends. She’s most looking forward to her music and art classes.
We’re sure this is just the first of many successes for Sarah as a great artist!