NEW YORKA striking black-and-white photograph (see Figure) of nursing student Katherine Wilson, a nonsmoker who lived 5 years with small-cell lung cancer before dying in 2005 at age 28, won the Best of the United States first prize in the 2006 Lilly Oncology on Canvas: Expressions of a Cancer Journey International Art Competition and Exhibition. The US competition finale was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion, New York, with Lilly President and COO John C. Lechleiter, PhD, presenting the top three US finalists with their awards.
A $10,000 donation to the charity of her choice was accepted by Ms. Wilson's mother, Anne Wilson of Morganton, North Carolina, who awarded it to the University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chapel Hill.
The image, entitled This Is Not a Dress Rehearsal, portrays Katherine at age 23, just 7 months after her diagnosis. It shows Katherine and her father standing in front of their home, smiling, with hats in hand to reveal their bald heads (hers from cancer treatments and his from sympathetic shaving).
The competition and awards ceremony, supported by Eli Lilly and Company in partnership with the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), represents the second such event; Oncology on Canvas was launched by Lilly in 2004 to enable people affected by cancerpatients, caregivers and health care providers, family and friends, artists and art studentsto share their experience with others.
In accepting first place in the US competition, Anne Wilson told the gathering that the concept "life is for living, and you only have one chance at it," was at the core of her daughter's outlook from a very early age. "Katherine knew that life was not 'the dress rehearsal.' Through almost 5 years of radiation and chemotherapy for six recurrences, Katherine continued making the best of every moment possible," Ms. Wilson said. Her daughter graduated from nursing school a few months before she lost her battle.
Second place in the US competition was awarded to health care provider JoAnn Coleman, of Baltimore, for her photograph, Tranquility. Ms. Coleman has been a nurse at the Johns Hopkins Hospital's Department of Surgery since 1974 and now serves as coordinator of the Multidisciplinary Pancreatic Cancer Clinic at Hopkins' Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. She asked that her $5,000 award be donated to the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at Johns Hopkins.
'There Is Life After Diagnosis'
Third-place was awarded to Isabel Quinones-Martin of San Juan, Puerto Rico, for her acrylic painting Embrace Life (see Figure). She made the work in honor of her friend, Lucy, recently diagnosed with lymphoma. Ms. Quinones-Martin lost both her parents to cancer, so when her friend was diagnosed, she felt it was a death sentence. "We thought her days were counted; not so," she said. "Lucy decided to embrace life. Her lessons for positive living have been countless. Her strong spirit is boundless. There is hope (life) after diagnosis." She will donate her $2,500 prize to the San Jorge Children's Foundation, San Juan.