A Redlands art teacher and art therapist is giving comfort to patients at Mater Private Hospital Redland one brushstroke at a time.
Kate Stimson started volunteering at the hospital after her husband Giles passed away aged 55 following a long battle with colorectal cancer.
Mrs Stimson, from Wellington Point, said her husband received medical treatment at Mater Cancer Care Centre Redland for two years where her family “got to know the nurses really well”.
“Giles was the life and soul of the ward when he came in for treatment,” she said.
“He had so many chemotherapy sessions there.”
Following her husband’s death in January 2021, Mrs Stimson and her two children raised $6000 through a GoFundMe fundraiser for the Mater Cancer Care Centre Redland, with the goal of starting an art therapy program, called Art from the heART, for cancer patients.
“It all kind of started from there,” Mrs Stimson, 56, said.
“I love art and enjoy teaching people how to paint. Also, being there for people in a time of need is special.”
The Sheldon College art club teacher also works at the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) with the Art and Dementia Program in South Brisbane, and has volunteered weekly at the hospital for the past year.
“No matter how much you can give someone, even if it’s a listening ear to offload, it is something meaningful,” Mrs Stimson said.
“Not everyone wants to paint when I come to their room, sometimes I paint for them, and they just want to have a conversation.
“One lady told me it was nice to just switch off and forget her problems.”
Mrs Stimson’s art therapy sessions extend to patients outside the Mater Cancer Care Centre, including those in the maternity ward and others waiting to have surgery or in recovery.
“It’s so humbling being there for people,” she said.
“I come away feeling very lucky. My husband would have been very proud of me and what I am doing.
“I am grateful with life. I have lost my husband and miss him very much, but volunteering helps me feel good about being a part of this community.”
Mater Private Hospital Volunteer Coordinator Priscilla Brown said Mrs Stimson’s talent helped bring comfort to patients feeling anxious about being in hospital, having cancer treatment or surgery.
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