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Survivor's art given new life



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Janna Bernheim Bernstein, an artist and former breast cancer patient, submitted her artwork to local facilities to share her experience with the public.

Two of the venues rejected her work. As she recalls, she was told that her drawings depicting women's struggle with breast cancer were too graphic.

"I wanted to make the public aware of what a person goes through," the Memphis art teacher says. "I was very hurt, and I kind of just shut off."

But one of her drawings has won second place among U.S. entries in Eli Lilly and Co.'s 2005 Oncology on Canvas competition for people touched by women's cancers. The drawing, Healing, is on tour with the exhibit, now at Union Station in Washington, D.C., until Oct. 16.

More than 400 artists from 23 countries submitted entries, says Marek Kania, a physician with Lilly. Accompanying each is a narrative about the painting and the artist's cancer story. The art and text are also compiled in a book to be given to oncologists. "We tend to really focus on the more rational side, ... (but) there's a strong need to support emotional sides of patients," Kania says.

In 2006, Lilly and the Coalition for Cancer Survivorship will sponsor a competition for survivors and caregivers of men's and women's cancers. For details, visit www.lilly.com.

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© Copyright 2004 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

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