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Cancer patients Hancock Regional Hospital make headscarves to cope, inspire others

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Posted at 9:20 AM, Sep 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-13 09:45:24-04

GREENFIELD — Cancer patients at Hancock Regional Hospital have an outlet to help them cope, relieve stress and make something they can share with others.

Four patients undergoing cancer treatments are working with a local textile artist to make headscarves. They tell the story of the patients' journey and they will be sold to other patients at the hospital who may be going through the same experience.

Marie Wright and Emily Gartner became quick companions.

Wright is in the midst of a battle with breast cancer that metastasized to her lungs, while Gartner is a local textile artist.

The duo is working on a project to make a headscarf for Wright, who relies on wigs and scarves to express herself since she lost her hair.

“It’s fun to kind of mix and match, and I like the holiday ones," Wright said.

The newest scarf Wright will add to her collection is one that tells her story, sporting bright colors and a mantra she tells herself everyday.

"'One foot in front of the other,'" Wright said. "You know, having a rough day or whatever, it's just kind of like, 'OK, one foot in front of the other. We've got this. Let's go.'"

Gartner is working with three other patients at Hancock Regional Hospital to make headscarves. She said each of them is different.

“I’m really glad this project even exists," Gartner said. "It's just interesting to see how everybody handles their own journey and you can appreciate every single one of them."

The four unique scarves made by each of the patients will be made in bulk so other patients can buy them and share in their journey.

"If I can help somebody else, you know, kind of if they can also be like, 'You know, what? We got this. One foot in front of the other. Yeah, OK. Let's do this.' I like that," Wright said.

According to Patient Empowerment Network, art therapy helps reduce pain and depression for cancer patients.

While not everyone gets a chance to work with a professional artist during art therapy, the network describes ways people can get those same at home easy-to-do art activities like drawing, painting or writing.

The network said it does not matter which art medium is chosen as the person will still express themselves, which can be therapeutic.

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