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Sandy Rausch show off her duct tape clutch purse made during an art therapy session.

Waterloo, Ill., resident Sandy Rausch show off her duct tape clutch purse made during an art therapy session

Healing Arts:

Art Therapy for Cancer Patients

The Art Therapy program is supported by donations to St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center Fund. In addition to art therapy, the fund supports cancer prevention and education programs, support groups and charity care. To make a gift — small or large — in support of the Cancer Care Center Fund, call St. Anthony’s Charitable Foundation at 314-525-7330 or visit www.sacf-giving.org.

In a lively room at St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center, a whirl of color and tape surrounds a group of cancer patients. Over the next two hours, the patients make clutch purses out of colored duct tape. The activity is part of St. Anthony’s new Art Therapy Program for patients facing a major illness. “It’s a way of happy expression and it takes your mind off of your diagnosis,” says Sandy Rausch, a breast cancer patient. “Here, we are not cancer patients, we are artists.”

The art therapy program is free to participants. Artist and educator Maria Ojascastro has led two of the art sessions. “I started doing this because my son is a cancer survivor,” she says. “Art gives a creative outlet to feelings that patients may not be able to express through words. This type of art therapy also is good for anyone who has a persistent challenge or problem in life.”

Other activities have included a painted pottery class facilitated by Donna Uhlig, owner of Glazed and Confused Pottery in south St. Louis County, who also donated more than one hundred ornaments in December for patients to paint. Says Rausch, “I can relate so much to everyone who comes to the art classes, to their emotions and to what they create. When I leave, I’m very proud of the things I've done.”

“The Art Therapy Program has been such a success because patients have been able to socialize and express their emotions,” says Lisa Salvati, RN, BSN, Breast Care Navigator and art therapy organizer. “We’re hoping to expand the program and include more art activities in the coming months.”

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For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.

Working as trusted partners, the physicians and employees of St. Anthony's Health System will deliver care distinguished by its demonstrated quality and personalized service. We will be visibly engaged in improving the health and well­ being of the communities we serve in South County and beyond. We will stand together, proud to set the standard for independent community health systems.