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Lisa’s Love of Art Lives On

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The art kept her going. It gave her something to do, a way to express herself, and it was a distraction from her pain.

Darlene Green, HOP Master’s degree-art therapist

From a young age, Lisa Linquist had more than her share of health issues. As a young adult in her 20s, she developed kidney issues requiring dialysis and later a kidney transplant (her mother, Carole, donated one of her kidneys for the transplant). She would eventually develop ovarian, bladder, and abdominal cancers. Despite this, she never wanted to be viewed as a sick person, her mother recalled. She loved nature and her cat, and she enjoyed art and reading—she even received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English when she was in her 30s.

Hospice of the Piedmont came into the Linquist’s life in June 2016 after she was diagnosed with multiple cancers. She underwent several surgeries and her health was dire; she was given just weeks or months to live. Her family learned about HOP and she began receiving care at her home, where she lived with her parents Carole and James. It was during this time that Lisa began to flourish as an artist—thanks to the new “Art by the Bedside” program, a donation-funded offering that HOP launched last year. “Art,” Carole said, “became a lifeline for her.”

HOP’s “Art by the Bedside” program allows our patients with life-limiting illnesses to practice artistic and creative expression with the help and guidance of our registered art therapists. Darlene Green, one of HOP’s Master’s degree-art therapists, first visited Lisa soon after she came under our care. “She loved art and had painted before, but hadn’t done it in a while,” said Darlene. 

Darlene began visiting Lisa on a weekly basis, and they would paint and create alongside each other, with Darlene teaching Lisa new techniques and experimenting with new mediums. Soon, she started to “really take off, she was painting a lot in her spare time… every time I’d visit, she’d have new work to show me,” Darlene said. “The art kept her going. It gave her something to do, a way to express herself, and it was a distraction from her pain.”

During the winter following her diagnosis, Lisa’s health was declining and she couldn’t stay comfortably seated for long periods. Darlene set up their canvases so she and Lisa could paint while standing. As they worked side-by-side, Darlene recalled that this gave Lisa an opportunity for verbal conversation as well as the chance to communicate through her imagery. In total, Lisa spent 10 months creating art alongside Darlene before she passed away in May of this year. 

“I don’t think we could have done it without HOP,” Carole said, reflecting on Lisa’s time under HOP’s care. Because of her health issues, Lisa couldn’t work nor maintain many close friendships. “Art was a wonderful thing for her, it was something to call her own. It allowed her to forget the ordeal she was facing for a short time each week.”

In honor of their daughter, Carole and James established the Lisa B. Linquist Art Therapy Fund. This scholarship program will help other HOP patients experience the joy and peace that Lisa found in her creative expression with the help of “Art by the Bedside.”

If you’d like to learn more about “Art by the Bedside,” please call 434-817-6900.

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