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From time to time, Huntsman Cancer Institute invites guest commentary from our community. The views reflected in these commentaries are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of Huntsman Cancer Institute.
When I was 19 years old, I found myself in a hospital bed on the fourth floor of Huntsman Cancer Institute. I had just received a bone marrow transplant, and I was beyond miserable. This was my second round of cancer treatments for Hodgkin lymphoma, which had started a year earlier.
Before I was admitted to the hospital, I was full of hope—excited to get my transplant so I could move on with my life. Then I started the transplant and I had never been in so much pain and misery. I remember praying to God and saying, "Please, let me die."
Every day, my angel mother would help me take a walk around the unit. On one particular day, we walked past a painting that I’m sure we had passed a thousand times. This time, it hit me like never before.
The painting is of a pioneer woman who is standing by herself, holding a handcart, looking forward. It hit me how completely selfish I was being. I was so blessed just being in that building, being taken care of by amazing nurses and doctors. My family was sacrificing so much to help me through the incredibly difficult time. I was alive because of the miracles of medicine.
I didn’t have to put all my belongings in a wooden handcart and walk thousands of miles to get away from oppression. I live in a beautiful place where I can worship and live how I want.
Life is an incredible blessing, despite all the struggles we go through. That’s what I saw in that strong pioneer woman’s eyes—hope. She gave me some that day. She saved my life. After I decided not to give up, I started recovering and I was so much happier.
Now, three years later, I still look back to that time. My heart is filled with hope for the future and so much gratitude for life.
When developing plans for Huntsman Cancer Institute, Jon and Karen Huntsman saw art as an important part of their vision—"to make sure the environment would be as healing as the medicine." Huntsman Cancer Institute is home to a museum-quality collection of original paintings, sculpture, and pottery—a total of approximately 2,500 pieces. The significance of this is most appreciated knowing that the entire collection comes solely from donation.