INDIANAPOLIS - A group of local fifth-graders has made it their mission to leave a lasting impression on cancer patients who've just finished the fight of their lives.
Students from Sand Creek Intermediate School craft artwork with uplifting messages then donate their work to the St.Vincent Breast Center.
The art is hung on the office walls to inspire cancer patients throughout their treatment, then each patient gets to take a piece home after they "graduate."
Nurses choose each piece to match the patient's personality and surprise them with it at the end of their treatment.
Dr. Ruemu Birhiray, an oncologist with St.Vincent Health, said the impact of the students' work is obvious.
"You look at the essence of the artwork from a child, and you see the very bright colors and the sense of hope that it provides," Birhiray said. "And once a patient receives it, there's just a physical impartment to the patient of the message of the art. It's wonderful."
Marty Smith, a cancer survivor who was treated at St.Vincent Breast Center, said she plans to put her donated masterpiece where she will see it every day.
"It says, 'There's Always Hope,'" Smith said. "When I lost my husband, there wasn't much hope, and I about gave up. But with prayer and people backing me, it came back."
Students dropped off their artwork at the center Tuesday. Sand Creek students have donated artwork at the end of the school year for the past three years.
The program was started by Deybrian and Phil Redd, two Sand Creek students whose mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2010.
In 2011, the Redds worked with their teachers to organize the uplifting artwork effort.
Deybrian Redd's teacher at the time, Annette Probst, has continued the project with her classes.