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York County cancer survivor's art chosen in calendar contest

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
Artist Vicki Friedman holds her first book, "The Caregiver in You," in her home at Country Meadows Retirement Communities of Leader Heights in York Township, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. Friedman's has also illustrated 11 books and says her second book, "Chirp Cheep Tweet with Owen Owl," a children's book about diversity, is currently in the hands of her publisher. Dawn J. Sagert photo

When Vicki Friedman was diagnosed three years ago with a rare form of ovarian cancer, she turned to colored pencils and blank canvasses as a form of therapy.

Art, said the York Township resident, helped her fight the internal pain she felt throughout her treatment — which she now hopes is something she can pass on to others battling the disease.

"Art has literally been a lifesaver for me," Friedman said. "When you get focused on something you truly love, it stops you from thinking about the things that might give you anxiety."

Friedman's art, along with 11 other submissions, was chosen out of a group of 121 pieces to make an appearance in a 2021 calendar published by Cure, a magazine for cancer patients and caregivers. 

Her colored pencil piece "Protection" features four angels throughout the four seasons, which she hopes will bring peace to those who see it, she said.

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Interested individuals can request a free copy of the 2021 calendar at www.curetoday.com/.

Cure Today, a research and educational organization founded in 2002, provides resources and information to help cancer patients, families and caregivers through every stage of the disease.

"My art is all based on good, positive messages," Friedman said. "So when I knew this piece was going to be in this calendar specifically seen by cancer patients and their caregivers, I was very happy."

Surrounded by her work, artist Vicki Friedman holds a piece called "Protection" in her home at Country Meadows Retirement Communities of Leader Heights in York Township, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. The piece was one of 12 selected in the iCURE Calendar Contest. Friedman's has illustrated 11 books, authored and illustrated her first book, "The Caregiver in You," and says her second book, "Chirp Cheep Tweet with Owen Owl," a children's book about diversity, is currently in the hands of her publisher. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Friedman's ongoing battle with low-grade serous carcinoma has been marked by uncertainty and anxiety.

While her form of ovarian cancer is slow-growing, it isn't responsive to most forms of chemotherapy — leaving her prognosis difficult to calculate.

The current medicine she takes to control it, however, has proven useful in managing the spread, Friedman said.

"As with any cancer, we know it can turn on a dime," she added. "So I'm very thankful for every day."

With an emphasis on art for most of her adult life, Friedman said her passion for creating flourished after her cancer diagnosis.

She said she hopes to continue creating pieces and inspire other cancer patients battling similar struggles she faced.

"When I work on my art, I'm completely engrossed in it," Friedman said. "My mind is on it and it takes me away — like a vacation would."

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.