"We share our stories; we learn we are not alone in our fight." The words of Lance Armstrong enlarged and powerful in an examination room of the new LiveSTRONG Survivorship Center at the Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin.
The purpose of the Center is to help young cancer survivors during and after their treatment. Many will face tough physical and psychological issues related to their cancer and treatment long after it may have been cured. In a press conference on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 Armstrong said "We expect people not only to survive, but to thrive."
One survivor in particular is giving back to make a difference in the organization and the Center. Eric Von Lehmden was treated for cancer at age 16 and again at 18. He now is a professional photographer shooting portraits, weddings and beautiful fine art photographs.
While speaking at an American Cancer Society Parent Teaching Conference, Von Lehmden met with one of the doctors who had treated him years before. On learning he was a photographer, she thought he might be able to help provide some photos to decorate the new space they would be moving into. In January of this year, working closely with the Center, Von Lehmden volunteered his time and talent to create the striking photos that would decorate the office.
Canvas Press worked with Von Lehmden to print the images on canvas gallery wraps. By creating a multitude of 8x10 and 11x14 gallery wraps, the images fit into the walls and style of the clinic seamlessly. The clean edge of the gallery wrap canvas allows for groupings of images together to make creative wall displays.
The Center's decor fits with the Lance Armstrong Foundation's black & yellow motif. The photographs are black & white portraits, with the bright yellow LiveSTRONG bracelets standing out in each. The kids (and some adults) in the pictures are the first group of patients to go through this unique clinic. One of only seven like it in the country, the Survivorship Center also has a resource center and research clinic. While the most recent photo shoot ended in August, this is an ongoing project. Von Lehmden expects to do at least two shoots annually of the new survivors coming from the clinic.
Von Lehmden's purpose in getting involved with this project was to give back to the community that gave him so much as a teenager dealing with cancer. The kids can look forward to coming to the clinic and be proud of their picture on the wall. The images are there to encourage and inspire current patients and parents as well. "They see these photos and it gives them strength and determination to be in one of those photos one day." Von Lehmden said.