Thinking about cancer or another serious illness can leave people with a feeling of helplessness. There’s just not much that the average person can do about serious illnesses. We’re not researchers and we don’t have tons of money to donate. So what else can we do? Buddy Rhodes Concrete Products has found a way to help by teaming up with an organization called Arts for Life.
At this year’s EPIC, the annual BlueConcrete and Buddy Rhodes training event, Buddy Rhodes artisans will be creating seating objects made of concrete. Each of these objects will then be offered up at an auction where all of the revenue generated will benefit Arts for Life and the families that they support in four cities across North Carolina. These objects will be designed and crafted by some of the brightest and most talented makers in the world of artisan concrete, says French. These objects will be created to honor those who have to sit and wait for a diagnosis, for treatment or for healing.
A blog post on the Buddy Rhodes site describes a heartwarming relationship that BlueConcrete’s resident artisan Jeremy French had with a 6-year-old girl who was on his daughter’s soccer team that he coached. This girls’ mother was dying of cancer, and later, the girl battled cancer herself.
French believes strongly that a creative outlet can help anyone going through these issues, and by joining forces with Arts for Life, they can do more than they can do alone. The Arts For Life website describes the organization as “a nonprofit dedicated to supporting people facing serious illnesses and disabilities. By providing educational art programs, they enrich patients’ lives, nurture their minds and spirits, and encourage positive healthcare experiences for children and their families.”
Jeremy French and Buddy Rhodes are trying to generate as much support for this organization as possible, and are suggesting that we all share the message with others.
French writes, “Ultimately the way you can offer the most support is by bidding for the seating objects that will be up for auction. Aside from getting a functional handcrafted object that you can place anywhere in the world, indoors or outside, you will be getting something that carries a much greater value. You will be winning an opportunity to sit in solidarity with the families who are suffering and fighting.”
Electric Shark by Alana, age 5
Alana was introduced to Arts For Life when her baby sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor. During her sister’s weekly visits, Alana spent hours at the art table with her Arts For Life teachers, completing every project she could could get her hands on. Over time, her attention span and ability to focus increased noticeably until, toward the end of her sister’s treatment, she was completing projects her teachers would normally use to challenge a much older student. For Alana, who was not yet school-aged, the Arts For Life art table at Mission’s Zeis Pediatric Oncology clinic was more than just a distraction, it was her first introduction to structured learning.
Good Morning Sunshine by Aviya, age 13
Aviya, a hematology patient at Mission Children’s Hospital has been creative her whole life. She sings, she dances, she plays instruments. While music came naturally in her family, visual arts were not emphasized quite as much. Aviya was the one who loved drawing, painting, and making crafts. So when she was first introduced to Arts For Life, it was like a home-coming. Now she’ll come early for her doctor’s appointments and stay for hours afterwards, just to complete her projects.