‘Art on Wheels’ help cancer patients process emotions chemotherapy, radiation can’t heal

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Getting a cancer diagnosis can be terrifying for a patient and their family. While doctors treat the disease, families process the stress of a life-threatening illness. A group in Richmond called “Art on Wheels” is reaching out to help.

Lila Watkins started her journey with Art on Wheels in 2014.

“When they bring the doctor in with the nurses, you know something is up,” Watkins said.

She then began therapy classes with the group in 2015.

“I saw the paper at the treatment center so I came and I liked it, so I keep coming,” she said. “Then I dragged my sister with me.”

Lila and her sister, Ada, stayed late after other students to meet up with 8News Anchor Juan Conde.

Their assignment was an exercise of repeating patterns but they also work in clay, weaving, paint and stitchery.

Art on Wheels classes help cancer patients and their families process the emotions and feelings that chemotherapy and radiation can’t heal.

“There are lots of different stages,” said art teacher, Kelly Nixon. “This is a way for them to basically get their minds off things or something else — get their emotions to paper to art. It’s a creative outlet.”

And spending what time we have wisely becomes a lot more important when you’re facing a serious illness.

“I drag a lot of folks in here with me and they come every now and again,” Watkins said.

Art therapy still helps Lila and her family, even after the doctors are gone.

“I’m cured,” Watkins said. “I keep coming ’cause I’m cured and I like it!”

To learn more about Art on Wheels and art therapy programs for cancer patients, visit here. 

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