Kids & Art aspires to an integrated care model for children with cancer in which participation in the Arts is part of the regular treatment plan.
The Kids & Art Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides Arts workshops to children with cancer and their care circles to improve their well-being during treatment, as survivors, and in bereavement.
We team up professional artists with families facing pediatric cancer for free art workshops at treatment centers and unique destinations for creativity. Together they use art as healing to empower, encourage, and create memorable experiences.
Why it Matters
Kids Get Cancer
- Every day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer.
- Once diagnosed, everyday life is turned upside down for the child and family.
- Average length of treatment is at least 2-3 years.
- Approximately 6 children die daily.
- Studies show arts and creative expression improve the well-being of cancer patients and their care circles.
- Research with children with cancer indicates that engaging in drawing and painting is an effective method for dealing with pain and other disturbing symptoms of illness and treatment.
Who We Serve
Currently we provide healing art workshops to Bay Area children and teens with cancer, their siblings, families, and support teams.
The Kids & Art Foundation was founded in 2008 by Purvi Shah, a parent whose child was diagnosed with cancer at age three, then lost his life six years later. Her inspiration came after seeing the healing impact moments of art and creativity had on all the members of her family while her son was in treatment for cancer.
“For him cancer was an inconvenience but art was an escape, into a world he controlled and created. ”
My son Amaey* was three years old when he was diagnosed with cancer. He had not been feeling well, had a fever, and his stomach was distended, so we took him to the doctor. Never in a million years did my husband and I think we would hear the words "leukemia."
However, from the moment we did it could not be undone. From that point on, everything was different and life was no longer as we knew it. From one day to the next during Amaey's treatment, we couldn't be certain how he might feel, or whether we'd have to return to the hospital for an extended stay.
Once a child is diagnosed with any form of cancer the journey is quite emotional. This is your child, your life. You cannot take their pain away, but you sure wish you could make it all better for them.
As a parent I felt flustered by not having any control. No control over the illness and no control over the side effects. But I had to do something, so I trained for three half-marathons with Team in Training and raised money for the cause.
But that was not enough for me. That was when I looked into the moments when our son was the happiest and most peaceful despite the cancer. It was when he was creating art in the hospital therapy room, in the hospital preschool, at home, and at summer camp. The year I kept him home and away from preschool during treatment is when I realized that art truly was therapeutic. It was giving him a chance to escape and create a life he liked, with moments of joy and healing. Art making allowed him to just be a kid, rather than a pediatric cancer patient.
Hence, I tapped into my graphic design background and reached out to fellow artists with the help of two of my wonderful friends, Caroline Low and Helen McNamara. Together we created the Kids & Art Foundation. Being a cancer family myself, I know how stressful life becomes, and how uncertain on a day-to-day basis. Art making has been an outlet for my entire family while facing pediatric cancer, providing an escape and a source for comfort and healing.
After six years of battling cancer, my son Amaey passed away in September , 2011, at the age of nine. Through Kids & Art, Amaey’s artwork has a lasting and powerful message of courage and spirit. We can remember and feel the child he has been to us. His joy, his energy, his interests, his love of life, and his creative spirit. We do not see the cancer. We see our child. My hope is that Kids & Art will create healing, a sense of peace, and lasting memories for every family touched by pediatric cancer.
*You can read more about Amaey's journey on his blog.
Whether we like it or not, kids do get cancer. We might not be able to take their cancer away but we can definitely be there for them through their journey. We hope you will support the cause.