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Roswell Park Art Therapy Program Marks 15th Anniversary

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – An art therapy program at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute is marking its 15th anniversary this year. Once again, holiday cards and gifts designed by young cancer patients are for sale.

It's called the Paint Box Project. Over the course of 15 years, it's raised more than $4 million for cancer research at Roswell Park.

One of the young artists who created a card this year is 16-year-old Mary Flanigan. She was diagnosed with leukemia at age 6 and suffered a relapse last year. Mary says participating in the Paint Box Project is important to her.

"When I had the opportunity to draw for the Paint Box Project, I got excited about it," Flanigan said. "It was a way for me to help out Roswell Park for all they've done for me. They're helping to cure what I have. So, I'm just really happy they chose me to do one of the cards. It helps me express myself in various ways."

Roswell Park began the art therapy program with a core group of volunteers in 1990. Today, Coordinator Mary Geary says the program has grown tremendously. She says they've spent much of the past year putting a business plan together to insure its future success.

"We spent a lot of time looking at everything we're doing, trying to really understand the best parts of the program that we knew we needed to keep," Geary said. "That involves all of the volunteers and business partners we have in the local community. We tried to identify ways we can grow the program over the next ten years."

This year's collection includes 50 original cards and gifts, including candles, scarves, charm bracelets, chocolates and more. More information on purchasing the items is available at the Paint Box Project. The toll free number is 1-800-959-5931.