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Artist creates colorful escape for kids undergoing cancer treatment

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Posted at 1:42 PM, Aug 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-03 16:27:55-04

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WEWS) — A new work of art will provide a much-needed distraction for kids battling cancer at the Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland. The new colorful mural, still in the works, is set to help children pass the time on their road to recovery.

The idea comes about after April Deters, a radiation specialist at the Seidman Cancer Center, visited with her son at a different hospital a few years ago. Her then two-year-old son was getting IV and lab draws. While there, Deters says she noticed a room.

“You walk in and you’re like under the ocean and that was mind-blowingly cool,” she said. “As a mom and, you know, through such a difficult time and everything that we were going through, it was so nice to have a minute where he was distracted.”

Deters says that’s when she thought about creating a space to escape for her patients and their families.

“I love our department. You know, radiation oncology is so wonderful, but I thought we could do better with the peds if we could provide even a minute of joy or distraction for these children," she said.

Artist Jason Baumgardner was informed about the desired project.

“When I saw what the project, I said I have to be involved in this in some way, shape, or form,” he said. “They had a theme already picked out. They wanted to do like a jungle, a lot of animals and all that.”

Baumgardner’s work of art is in progress inside a room where many kids at the Seidman Center wait for sedation before radiation therapy treatment. They sometimes sit there for hours.

“Anything that can take their mind off of what they’re going through,” Baumgardner said. “I couldn’t imagine being in that situation.”

With nearly 60 colors, the mural shaping up to be more than just art. It’s peace of mind for moms like Deters and families coping through tough times.

“They’ve worked very hard on this room and it shows. It’s pretty awesome,” Deters said. “It’s nice that we can provide that and we can help support those parents and the families that way.”

The mural has generated so much excitement, that more rooms could be getting murals in the future.

This story was originally reported by Taneisha Cordell on news5cleveland.com.