Like any typical 7-year-old girl, Olivia Noland knows how to be creative.
“I love making art,” Olivia said.
But Olivia is going through something far from typical. She was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago. Right now, she’s more than halfway through her chemotherapy.
Thus, she spends a lot of time at the St. Jude Affiliate Clinic of Huntsville Women’s and Children’s Hospital. However, her time at the clinic is not just about treating the cancer.
“I know it’s something they can look forward to coming here,” said artist Daria Hammond.
Every Wednesday, after a series of treatments, Olivia encounters a friendly face. Hammond spends time making art with the young girl, allowing her to create whatever her heart desires.
“She gets mad at me, you know, if I miss a day, then yeah, just to see that smile on that face, I know it makes a difference,” Hammond said.
Hammond has been part of the Arts in Medicine program for over two years. It is funded by the Huntsville Hospital Foundation.
The program helps patients of all ages and illnesses across the hospital system. Hammond said it gave them a sense of control, even if it was only for a few hours.
“Even if she’s having a bad day and she doesn’t feel like painting, it’s not for me to say, ‘Hey, you have to paint with me,'” Hammond said. “She can just say ‘no’. Anyone can just say no.”
Olivia usually says yes. When her battle with cancer starts to feel like an endless storm, Olivia has the art to fall back on.
“It makes me feel like rainbows,” Olivia said.
The Huntsville Hospital Foundation handles donations. For more information on how you can help fund programs like Arts in Medicine, Click here.