"I was afraid I was going to die:" Healing from cancer through Art Therapy

WAUWATOSA (WITI) -- Surviving cancer can be a long and grueling process, but through art, patients are finding peace. One local survivor has made it her mission to help others.

"I was afraid I was going to die when I was diagnosed with cancer," said Laurell Scholz.

Scholz was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and started making bracelets. The beads mark the good and the bad in her fight to survive.

"I have other things on here, like peppermints I would have during chemo or a tear a dice for the 'roll of the dice'...the word 'hope'," said Scholz.

Scholz makes the bracelets for patients who are too weak to make their own along with other women who want to be creative in their illness.

"Fear is the number one thing you are concerned about. How your family is going to take things, how your body is going to handle everything, financial issues are a worry," said Scholz.

From giving patients an outlet for their emotions, to temporarily forgetting the pain, therapists say art can help in ways medicine might not.

"I have a patient that says 'I like painting, because when I am painting, I don`t think about having cancer,'" said Carrie Danhieux, a therapist at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.

At Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, art therapy is part of the treatment cycle.

"Giving patients the opportunity to look at how to improve their quality of life, or at least maintain their quality of life," said Danhieux.

Scholz brings the beads to the art therapy sessions at the Cancer Center to help others heal.

"We are just hoping to reach out to many more people," said Scholz.

The Art Therapy Program at Froedtert Hospital is offered to all patients for free through the Froedtert Hospital Foundation.

To learn more about Journey Bracelets, click here.

Upcoming events:

Art for Fun, Growth and Wellness: Thursdays, April 16-21 from 5:30 - 7 pm at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center.

A Journey Bracelet Experience: Saturday May 2nd, 11 am - 2 pm at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center.

To register for either of these events: (414) 805-0998