JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Grandparents, parents and children of all ages gathered Sept. 11 to help raise awareness for childhood cancer through painting.
Now in its third year, the annual Paint it Forward fundraising event, put on by Caring Canvases, raised money and collected inspirational paintings that were all donated to the nonprofit CURE Childhood Cancer.
“It’s a great way to have fun in a meaningful way that makes a difference,” said Caring Canvases founder and artist Eileen Cardillo. “Childhood cancer is sadly very underfunded by the government, and the support mainly comes from private organizations like CURE Childhood Cancer.”
This year’s Painting it Forward fell on the 15th anniversary of 9/11. In honor and remembrance of the day, the event started with a tribute to the fallen heroes before the painting began.
This year’s guest speakers were Kennedy Cobble, a four time childhood cancer survivor, and her mother. Cobble, at only 24 years old, has been fighting cancer since she was 14 and has gone through multiple surgeries. She no longer has a right lung, and the lower half of her spine along with her knee, tibia and femur are now composed almost entirely of titanium.
Her message, however, was ultimately one of hope and gratitude.
“Keep in mind as you paint today that you are making a difference in someone’s life and raising awareness for the most underfunded disease: childhood cancer,” said Cobble. “I am so thankful that I can be a part of it and do my part to make sure that no other child will endure what I had to.”
The participants, who came from across the metro Atlanta area, spent the day creating art to give to children fighting cancer. Painters of all skill levels followed ready-made designs or made their own creations, each complete with a personalized message. Cardillo, along with her creative associate Beth Abbott, also encouraged people to take their artwork with them to give to someone in their own life who might be struggling with cancer.
The paintings, even if they seem small, can make a big impact in someone’s life.
“It can become a very personal and special gift for whoever receives it. Just to know that they’re being thought about, that they’re being cared about and someone out there was just doing something kind – it can be incredibly comforting,” Cardillo said.
The event also encouraged donations for CURE Childhood Cancer and included a silent auction. This year, they exceeded expectations by doubling the funds raised from last year.
Cardillo said that she was incredibly moved by the support this year and is looking forward to next year’s Painting it Forward.
“I couldn’t do this on my own. I couldn’t do any of this without the community. They have made this possible,” Cardillo said.
Until the next Painting it Forward, Cardillo and Caring Canvases will continue to work with organizations throughout the year in Atlanta to create positive and inspirational messages through art.
To get involved with Caring Canvases, visit joytothewordart.com.