As I was creating this piece for Abby, full of bright and bold colors to match her personality, the paint began taking on a new life. Every time I stepped back to observe, something would draw me back in as if it was saying, “you are not finished yet.” As with most things in life, including a devastating cancer diagnosis, you have to learn to trust the process. I knew my hands and the paint would create something that represented her.
From the moment I met Abby I realized she was a warrior. “I knew I would not let cancer take me down,” she said to me. Her journey with treatment throughout a pandemic was arduous and ill-timed, however, she remained positive and determined to triumph. On top of tackling her own diagnosis, Abby has worked tirelessly to educate and caution women on the importance of advanced screening for the BRCA gene mutation. On her website, where she raises money for people in need of genetic screening, she said:
“I will fight for the woman who wants a genetic screening kit but can’t afford it. Or the woman who wants screening because she believes she is high risk. I will fight for all of you and your children because nobody should have to wait for cancer to find them first.”
On the final day of painting I brought the canvas outside of my home in Colorado. The breeze was blowing and the mountains were energetically green. As I stepped back one final time, I saw it: an elephant. Elephants are revered as a symbol of good luck, a destroyer of evil, and a remover of obstacles. In art, oftentimes elephants are depicted in battle – charging head first into the opposition. They are a symbol of strength, compassion, and wisdom. All of the qualities that Abby possesses.
The brave colors throughout the painting are a reflection of her tenacity, her passion for her family, and her all around fun and fiery spirit. Like an elephant, Abby continues to amaze and enchant the people in her life. I am blessed to be one of them.