Cancer as the Emperor of All Maladies - But Art Wins!

Cancer. A disease that has sustained a presence of over 5,000 years and touched millions of lives to date, oncologist and author, Siddhartha Mukherjee, coins Cancer as the Emperor of All Maladies, the King of all terrors. Daunting no matter where in life you stand, especially for a young person just starting to discover life, cancer is a sure curve ball. Nothing seems fair and it is a physical, emotional ride that transforms the child to be mentally strong, growing up just a tad faster. But kids will be kids. Kids & Art Founder, Purvi Shah, found that art was the perfect therapy for her son, Amaey as he was fighting cancer – it’s really the simple things that can bring joy, happiness, and relief.

Kids & Art provides a place for families to come together with local artists, learning new arts & craft techniques and finding peace in the community, knowing that you aren’t battling alone.

At the recent Kids & Art event, nearly 30 families (100+ children) came together at Google’s Mountain View Headquarters for a fun time of creative expression. There were stations for melting crayons, painting boxes, watercolor painting, magazine cut-outs, you name it!

As a volunteer, I got the chance to witness those serendipitous moments of children finding out they had the same name, same age, and same favorite color. I got to see the process of blank canvases flourish with color from start to end. And at the end of 2 hour midday workshop (time flies when you are having fun), it was amazing to see the diversity of projects completed!

Cancer was no longer the main focus. But with all pieces auctioned off at the end of the year toward supporting more free art workshops (it can cost up to $3,500 to host a workshop!), special art packages to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Long Stay Unit, and other cancer charities – it’s a wonderful full circle.

Some conversations with the kids:

Q: Have you melted crayons, painted boxes before? Come across anything new?

A: I’ve seen it before, but never done it myself. My favorite was the bottle cap jewelry station. (Age 8)

A: No, we usually don’t have time at home. I liked melting the crayons, it was fun! (Age 8)

Q: Does it really matter having the workshop at Google?

A: YES! I like that Google is fun and colorful. It’s fun to see the Droids and Expected Mother signs! (Age 8)

A: Did you see the Squirrel Cave? I want to work here one day! (Age 11)

Q: How do you feel about your artwork supporting cancer charities and more art workshops?

A: mmm, yay! (Age 9)

A: It’s a good feeling. I hope they like my art. (Age 8)

by Jade Kwan