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Painting brings new therapy to patients

By Jill Kuramoto
Published On: May 04 2013 12:07:00 PM HST

Medical technology and medicine can't do it all. Sometimes therapy helps cancer patients begin to heal.

HONOLULU -

There is medical technology and medicine to help treat those diagnosed with cancer.  But there's also therapy that soothes the inner soul for those affected with the illness.

It's done with paint and brush.  If a picture paints a thousand words, then this rainbow speaks volumes for the hope Nanea Genobia, 10,  is striving to maintain in her fight against leukemia.

"Rainbows are colorful and they're happy," said Genobia, when asked to explain her painting.

Genobia is just one of the cancer patients at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children using art to express emotions.

Pat Nishimoto is one of the facilitators of the program called Oncology on Canvas. She calls it nursing intervention.

"Suddenly the windows open and people can look into each other's hearts and know what's going on. It's so powerful," said Nishimoto.

It aims to bring patients and their families closer, using paint and brush to express their personal journey.   

Mina Humphreys is painting a rainbow as well.

"This is my cancer growing.  The rainbow is the hope and I'm going to put something down here for all of my cheerleading friends," said Humphreys.

This is Humphreys' second time around in her battle against uterine cancer.  Her grandson was diagnosed and survived leukemia.

"I'm trying to be strong for my family because my daughter's family has already been through it. Now, they have to go through it with me.  I have six grandchildren I'm trying to protect and be strong for," said Humphreys.

On this day, she brought along her daughter and grandchildren.

"I don't want them to share the medical part, so this was a fun way for them to share and meet my nurses and we can do this together," said Humphreys.

"Everybody sort of tries to be strong, tries not to upset the other person.  As a nurse, I want to help people come out of this stronger," said Nishimoto.

The program, now in its seventh year, is offered at four hospital on Oahu.  Some artwork may be submitted to the national program and could be chosen to be included in a book.

But for those here, it's not about the competition, it's the stories -- and the fight -- that's important.

"Everything I do, I'm hopeful is doing something positive," said Humphreys.

"You don't choose if you're going to have cancer or not, but you can choose how you're going to deal with it," said Nishimoto.

The works created by Kapiolani cancer patients and other Oahu hospitals will be on display at Honolulu Hale starting Monday through May 23, 2013.

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