15 October 2009

MISSION: Expressions of Hope: Allegheny General Hospital

Are you ready for this? THIS is THE MISSION that Number Two and I did (yes, Secret Agent L will be speaking in first-person for this post, because it's really important to her) on Saturday at Allegheny General Hospital's Expressions of Hope Cancer Awareness Expo. Needless to say, we were both moved. To tears. Literally. As in, leaking eyeballs.

Date: Saturday, 10 October 2009

Time: between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.

Location: Allegheny General Hospital, North Side, Pittsburgh, PA

The artwork was so, so incredible. To think of what these cancer patients have been through, and then to create through art their experience so that others would have a glimpse into that world inspired us with awe, humility, and a deep sense of reverence. The human condition is truly, truly amazing, and we both felt honored to be let in to such private moments for these courageous individuals.

One of our favorite pieces was the "Inspiration Chair."

There were different colored markers sitting under the chair, and everyone who came through the exhibit was encouraged to leave something on the Inspiration Chair, especially if they'd been touched in any way by cancer.

Even Number Two participated. Who hasn't been touched by cancer in some way? Nobody I know.

While some of the artwork portrayed anguish and suffering, others portrayed a sense of hope or joy. This piece spoke to me.

And other pieces were so striking that you couldn't help but feel as though you were right there with the patient, truly experiencing their vulnerability...and their courage.

This piece drew me in, as flowers have always signified the circle of life in all its forms: birth, growth, beauty, and death.

And now on to the fun stuff! The mission itself!

Number Two and I came armed with bags of goodies to leave all over the hospital. And we didn't look out of place at all, because as soon as we arrived at the exhibit, we were handed reusable shopping bags for all of the materials we would pick up at each of the informational stations. Nobody was the wiser that our bags were filled with treats and surprises to leave behind!

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, everything was pink and/or comforting for the recipient.

(Water fountains are great places to leave things!)

A BIG thank you to my girl L. over at Operation Smiley Face, who graciously donated a couple of these wonderful pocket mirrors, complete with the Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon! LOVE these! Thank you, L.! xoxo

Tea is always so soothing, especially if you're ill, and especially during cold, damp, and blustery days like we've been having recently.

We left a box of chamomile tea in the cafeteria at the hospital. (Sorry the photos are so blurry--there were a lot of people around, so I had to move quickly!)

Another great item we left behind as surprises are these inspirational window cards from Compendium. Their HOPE line of products is specifically geared towards cancer patients, and these HOPE window cards carry a lot of, well, hope in them!

Since I'm a girl, as is Number Two, we often find ourselves limited to purchasing products for women, particularly because of the ease of leaving our little gifts in the women's restroom. But we thought a Target gift card would be gender-neutral, and we even left it in a unisex bathroom! Brilliant!

And finally, my favorite piece of the entire exhibit:

This painting (yes! painting!) spoke to me so deeply. There is something so serene about this woman's face: her eyes closed, perhaps as she prays or meditates; her hairless head still so beautiful; her head titled upwards, as if towards light, towards hope, towards healing. I could not take my eyes away from this piece.

It is my hope that this mission will inspire all of you to do whatever you can to bring joy and peace to those suffering from cancer, to raise more awareness, to donate your time and financial resources, and to always believe in the power of hope.

This was, without a doubt, my favorite mission yet. For all those we have loved and lost to cancer, for all those we love now who suffer from and continue to fight against this disease, and for all those who will, someday, be affected by its touch--this mission is for them.


Tabitha@ichoosebliss said...

This was an outstanding and heartwarming post!! Your interview is up at the site! :)

Operation Smiley Face said...

Wow I'm actually kind of speechless right now. You did amazing with these missions. Just amazing!

Dawn&Brian said...

WOW....really, just WOW!!

Helen McGinn said...

This made me cry. Oh my gosh. I love this so much, you are incredible.

I Play Outside The Box said...

Your heart is just beautiful!

Petunia Face said...

You are an inspiration, which sounds so hackneyed that I wish there was another word. But that is truly what you are: inspirational. Thank you for what you give to the world.

Anonymous said...

I want you to know that this mission (group of missions) is the reason I am now a dedicated affiliate. I won't tell you which affiliate I am but I will say I live north of you, agent L, and I am a new agent. I have cancer and this mission means so much to me. Thank you for caring, and for RAKing

Affiliated Agent

ssnoel1230 said...

I don't post to you everytime I do a mission because I do them atleast 5 times a week. But none of the missions I have done so far have matched what you did there. That is wonderful. I had leukemia and was at outpatient cancer care every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a long time. That is so nice of you and on behalf of all cancer patients I want to thank you.