Editor's Note: The following article is based on a news release issued by ArtsQuest.
Local pediatric cancer patients and their families will have access to new support services and art-based programs designed to facilitate wellness thanks to a new partnership between the Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley Inc. and ArtsQuest.
The partnership will be supported by a $15,000 LIVESTRONG Foundation grant ArtsQuest has been awarded to further develop its new heART Series, which provides art-based wellness workshops for residents of the Lehigh Valley.
A nonprofit organization that assists local families who are battling pediatric cancer, the PCFLV has been helping children and their families since 2003. This September, which is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, the nonprofit will open its new offices on the second floor of the Banana Factory, ArtsQuest’s community arts center on W. Third St.
In an effort to shine the spotlight on the nationwide effort to fight childhood cancer, the blast furnaces at SteelStacks will also be illuminated in gold, the official color symbolizing the fight against childhood cancer, beginning Sunday night and through the week.
The partnership between PCFLV and ArtsQuest will allow the two nonprofits to explore and offer new wellness through the arts workshops to supplement the existing programs and activities already offered by PCFLV.
By hosting organized events, workshops, family activities and sibling programs, PCFLV encourages participation and involvement, allowing families to discover nurturing support within the cancer community.
Examples of PCFLV programs include Chemo Circus, which provides a fun, circus-like atmosphere designed to reduce the anxiety, stress and pain a child undergoes during cancer treatment. The organization also hosts Date Nights, Mom’s Days and Dad’s Days to provide a supportive, caring environment to parents and caregivers of children with cancer.
PCFLV Executive Director Carrie Gofberg Tamutus said having the PCFLV offices at the Banana Factory will allow the organization to reach out in Bethlehem and surrounding communities to help spread awareness about pediatric cancer and PCFLV’s services, as well as offer new programs such as Art Soup, a monthly art-based program that will bring pediatric cancer patients and their siblings together to explore a variety of art forms and art activities.
“We are elated to partner with ArtsQuest in order to provide our families with additional opportunities for therapeutic healing and enrichment in a location extremely well suited for our thoughtful programming,” Tamutus says. “The Banana Factory is also a wonderful destination where children will be immersed in local arts and culture as well as a community, ready to support them, in their time of need.”
Alison Bessesdotter, a Banana Factory resident artist and a Macungie resident, will be the lead artist for the program, which will also include workshops by other artists who specialize in various creative mediums including movement.
“ArtsQuest is pleased to welcome the Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley to the Banana Factory. This is an amazing organization that is doing some incredible things for families who are in some very challenging and difficult situations,” said Janice Lipzin, ArtsQuest’s director of visual arts.