Sue Mikalajunas started a felt artwork project to occupy her mind as she was battling cancer. Now her 8-by-10-inch design in alpaca fiber has been selected for a national exhibition of artwork by oncology patients.
“This is a great honor, and I really appreciate everyone’s interest in it,” she said of the decision by Lilly Oncology to feature her art on its website in April.
Over the past decade, “Lilly Oncology on Canvas” has provided individuals affected by cancer an opportunity to tell their personal stories through art and narrative. In the past 10 years, more than 4,400 entries have been received, with hundreds of exhibitions held to feature the works.
In felting, the artist uses large needles to puncture a canvas and press in pieces of alpaca or merino wool. Ms. Mikalajunas, who has been felting for years, calls her creation, “My Journey Through Cancer.” It depicts a progression from a tunnel to flames to an open window. “It shows my resolve to emerge from that window a winner,” she said.
Ms. Mikalajunas was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, has had surgery at UHS Wilson Medical Center, and continues to receive chemotherapy at the UHS Cancer Care Center. She says her greatest hurdle in life has been coping with her cancer diagnosis and treatment, and everything that accompanies the process of dealing with the disease. She credits cancer nurse coordinator Ruth Manzer, RN, and the rest of the staff at the Cancer Care Center, with helping her on her long journey.
Ms. Mikalajunas noted that the felting project did indeed help her focus on something positive, and hopes the works of art created by her and other “Lilly Oncology on Canvas” entrants will be beneficial. “They may encourage other people who are going through the challenges of this disease,” she said.
Visit “Lilly Oncology on Canvas” to see more stories about battling cancer that have been expressed through art.