Art with a Heart

Girl with her ArtAfter stepping from their
limousines, they walk down the red carpet. Some are timid; some seasoned
professionals who smile and wave and do a little twirl when the flashbulbs
start popping. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill Hollywood event—this is Art
with a Heart, and those red carpet walkers are patients at the Jimmy Everest
Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders in Children. But make no mistake—this
is their night.

For twelve years, the Tri Delta
Alumnae have sponsored the Art with a Heart event, where artwork created by
children with cancer and blood disorders is donated for auction. “The children
will be the guests of honor and the center of attention at the auction,” said
Jennyfer Guebert, event Co-Chair. Not because of their illnesses—but for what
they’ve created.

Creative Power

There’s no question about it:
art is powerful. Through art, children are able to develop skills that lead to
success. Problem solving and spatial relations, nonverbal communication and
sensory stimulation, social interaction, hand-eye coordination and fine motor
skill development—when children create art, they develop thinking, feeling,
relating and coordinating skills. By participating in art activities, children
are improving skills that will help them to reach developmental milestones.

Art DayBeyond that, art therapy is
shown to offer respite and reduce the stressful effects of trauma—which is
especially important to children who may not yet have developed the skills to
process emotional events or verbalize feelings and emotions. By creating art
that will be auctioned, children are given a powerful voice in their treatment.

Art with a Heart

All proceeds raised from the
auction will benefit the Oklahoma Children’s Cancer Association (OCCA), a
nonprofit group that helps children with cancer and their families to handle
the emotional and financial issues encountered when a family member has cancer.
“Cancer impacts the whole family, and OCCA does a great job organizing various
events for the entire family and helping them to cope with the impact of
cancer,” explains Guebert.

Supporting the Whole Family

OCCA understands that a cancer
diagnosis for one means an impact to the entire family unit. They provide
support to families dealing with cancer in a number of ways, including:

            •
Keeping treatment waiting rooms stocked with art supplies and volunteers to
work with children going through stressful treatments.

            •
Providing support to parents through educational materials, gift cards and
monthly support groups.

           Young Artist
Hosting group activities for families including bowling, zoo trips

and Thunder game outings.

            •
Supporting Camp Cavett, a summer camp for children

with life-threatening illnesses.

            •
Providing financial assistance to help with living or medical expenses for
families of children

in treatment.

            •
Sponsoring college scholarships for current or former patients.

Proceeds raised from the Art
with a Heart auction will help to fund all of these programs and more. Because
of the important support offered to families, OCCA has been the event’s chosen
recipient for the past several years. Last year alone, Art with a Heart
contributed over $50,000 to OCCA.

Guests of Honor

“These kids always keep us
laughing,” says Guebert. The children are the guests of honor and can take
solace in the fact that the attention focused on them is not because of their
illnesses but rather because of their accomplishments.

They arrive by limousine,
donated by VIP Limos. “They love the ride!” remarks Guebert. Then they hit the
red carpet on the way in. “For the new kids, the red carpet walk can be a
little intimidating due to the crowd and all the photos,” continues Guebert.
“But once they’ve walked it for the first time….” The children love to plan
their actions when they meet their public. Guebert recalls one girl who liked
to plan what her red carpet performance will include. “One year it was a
curtsy, the next a twirl.”

Little Boy ArtistDuring the event, the children
continue the fun. “These artists love to check their bid sheets to see how much
money they’re raising.” And when the auction is all said and done, they have a
chance to meet their silent bidders. “Bidders have told the kids to come find
them if they’re outbid—and the kids do!”

In the end, it’s the generosity
of the bidders that helps to provide the OCCA programs—but it’s also a great
privilege that these bidders have to participate in such an uplifting event.

Art
with a Heart will be held February 22, 2014, in the OU Medical Center Children’s
Hospital Atrium from 6–9pm. Tickets are $30, available at artwithaheartokc.com.
Event sponsorships are also available and begin at $100. Learn more about OCCA
at helpkidsfightcancer.org.

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