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Beauty at the bedside

Dr. Joanne Lagmay, a UF Health pediatric hematologist-oncologist, admires the sketch of patient Anna Doran. (Photo by Rossana Passaniti)Being confined to a hospital for treatment is difficult, especially for a child. But when the hospital stay lasts more than 200 days, it can become unbearable at times. For 14-year-old Anna Doran, however, her hospital stay has developed into the opposite and has instead served as a catalyst to create more than 50 beautiful works of art.

Anna, who has acute lymphoid leukemia, has been a patient at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital for nearly seven months. And she’s made exceptional use of her time, channeling her positive energy and sharing her talents with those around her.

 “My favorite art media is paint,” Anna said. “Mainly, because you can mix the colors and it turns into something beautiful. Making art takes my mind off of the bad things I have going on.”

Anna painted each masterpiece from her hospital room. “People are usually surprised when they see my artwork in the hospital room and find out that I painted it,” Anna said. “It makes me happy when they like it.”

Amy Bucciarelli, M.S., ATR-BC, a board-certified art therapist who works in the department of pediatrics with children and teenagers who are chronically ill, has helped Anna find an outlet through her paintings.

“I counsel through art-making,” Bucciarelli said. “Instead of talking about thoughts and feelings, we create art as a way for patients to express themselves, cope with the difficult things they experience and help them make meaning out of the time they spend in the hospital.”

UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine hosted a showcase gallery of Anna’s paintings in the Marshall M. and Paula P. Criser Jr. Cancer Resource Center at the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital in December.

Anna hopes to continue to inspire others with her paintings, and encourages people to “be creative, spontaneous and passionate.”

“Never say never!” she said.

About the Author

Peveeta Persaud

Marketing Coordinator, UF Health Communications, Department of Pediatrics

Peveeta Persaud, APR., joined the UF Health Communications team in 2012, serving as marketing coordinator for the University of Florida's Department of Pediatrics.

Peveeta graduated from the University of Central Florida, magna... Read More

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