Carcinoid cancer is the focus of the April calendar page for the 2011 Expressions of Hope calendar published by the ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) Cancer Foundation. The calendar illustrations have been created by cancer patients, family members, friends, and caregivers to share their emotions through art and inspire hope in others. The oil painting “The Song Bird Keeps Singing” is the work of Adria Di Maria, mother of carcinoid patient Marlena Johnston, who was diagnosed with carcinoid cancer in 2010. “While [her most recent surgery] was successful, the recovery was difficult with a slew of minor complications which wore down her spirit; my song bird seemed to have lost her voice,” said Ms. Di Maria about her daughter. “I reassured her that this latest challenge could be met . . . with grace and dignity.”
Ms. Di Maria’s painting of a song bird reaffirmed her daughter’s renewal and sense of hope as she healed. Ms. Johnston, a high school English teacher, is an extraordinary advocate for carcinoid and neuroendocrine cancers. She chronicles the challenge of surviving carcinoid cancer in her blog, “Channeling Jackie-O.” In the introduction to her blog, she writes: “Everybody needs a hero; for me, it’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, affectionately known as Jackie-O. For as long as I can remember, when things became difficult, my mother would always tell me to think of Jackie-O and how she would handle the situation – with perfect grace.”
In November, Ms. Johnston, along with hundreds of students at Paramus Catholic High School in New Jersey, joined in the global awareness campaign for NET (neuroendocrine tumor) cancer. In addition to awareness efforts on November 10, 2010, the first Worldwide NET Cancer AwarenessDay, Ms. Johnston and her colleagues worked throughout November to educate the Paramus Catholic High School community about carcinoid cancer. They obtained an amazing number of signatures – 792 in one day! – for the Worldwide NET Cancer Awareness Day Proclamation. CLICK HERE to sign the Proclamation digitally and join over 4,600 people on six continents who are supporting the campaign. To read more about Paramus Catholic High School’s participation in the NET awareness campaign, CLICK HERE.
Thank you, Marlena, for all you do for carcinoid and NET cancer awareness. Adria, your beautiful painting is a tribute to your daughter and all members of the carcinoid/NET community. To see more of Adria’s artwork, visit her online gallery.