Art in medicine gives cancer patients mental respite

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TAMPA, Florida— Hospital stays are rarely fun.

For people struggling with cancer, these stays are sometimes unavoidable. The Arts in Medicine program has existed at Moffitt for nearly 25 years.

The Arts In Medicine program has been specifically designed to provide patients and their caregivers with a variety of opportunities to experience the therapeutic benefits of the arts during a difficult time.

It’s one of the reasons music can sometimes be heard echoing through the halls of the Moffitt Cancer Center.

Lloyd Goldstein strings a bow across his violin base, playing Amazing Grace. He is an artist in residence.


What do you want to know

  • The Arts in Medicine program has been at Moffitt for nearly 25 years
  • Designed to provide patients and their caregivers with a variety of opportunities to experience therapeutic benefits

Kaley Rransbottom walks past, pushing a cart full of art supplies. Another artist in residence. She’s on her way to Patricia Gomez’s room.

“So we are going to prepare a tray for a patient who is in an isolation room,” Ransbottom said. “Instead of bringing the whole cart into the room, we have our trays that we’re going to get all of our materials ready so we don’t have to undress every time we have to grab something from the cart.”

Gomez is at Moffitt Cancer Center because she needed a bone marrow transplant. She has myelodyplastic syndrome.

But with Ransbottom here, she takes a break from thinking about cancer and instead focuses on the intricate folding of origami hearts.

“I’m going to go,” Gomez said, selecting a piece of colored paper.

Before the folding begins, Gomez writes the word “patience” on her paper. She says patience is her constant battle right now.

“Being in the hospital longer than three days is a lot,” Gomez said through his mask.

She’s been at Moffitt since August 5, almost a month.

Art is his escape now, and has been for ten years. She laughs when asked why art appeals to her.

“Why not ?” she said with a small laugh. “It’s, it’s a source of relaxation, it takes my mind off the pain, the nausea, the fatigue. I can go for hours and hours sometimes.

She surrounds herself with art. She is a professional artist outside of Moffitt. Paintings hung in her hospital room, she has been painting for the past 25 days.

“I have all the freedom in the world. I paint what I feel like painting,” she says of her work.

Art, in his opinion, helps him recover.

“It’s healing, it’s healing,” Gomez said.

It also helps him find patience.

“There’s still that patience, you can tell I’m struggling,” Gomez said.

With Ransbottom with her and as she creates, Gomez finds her strength and her true personality.

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