The Perfect Way to Surround Yourself with Beauty and Contribute to a Good Cause

In 2003, I volunteered with Chemo Angels, an organization that connects individuals to “angel” cancer patients. I was assigned to angel a twelve year old girl named Sarah, who had been diagnosed with leukemia for the third time. When we were connected, Sarah was preparing to undergo a bone marrow transplant.

Sarah received her first diagnosis of leukemia at the tender age of six. During her hospital stay, Sarah was introduced to art therapy. She had a particular fondness for butterflies and wolves. Her art was featured in school publications and her room was filled with her paintings and drawings. She would often draw pictures for the nurses and sent several to me. They are my most cherished possessions. Fortunately, Sarah’s cancer went into remission and her love of art blossomed.

At age nine, Sarah’s leukemia returned. The second treatment was more aggressive and Sarah spent a great deal of time in isolation. Again, she turned to her art and when her health permitted, she would provide art lessons to the younger children on her hospital unit. Sarah was unaware of the research that has been done on the healing benefits of art. She just knew that when the children were engaged in creating art, they could temporarily forget about their pain and their illness.

Hospital leaders, physicians and patients are discovering that art and music placed in the hospital environment can assist patients to deal with their illnesses more effectively. Studies show soothing environments may even allow the patient to fully recover in a shorter amount of time.

Healing art can be as simple as viewing pictures on the wall to help reduce stress of patients waiting to undergo a surgical procedure. Flipping through a photo album can bring on laughter and remind us of happy events. Art therapy can include active involvement such as painting, sculpture or photography. Healing art is not limited to those that are hospitalized or coping with an illness. It can be used by anyone at any time to reduce stress, ease depression, or lighten one’s mood.

Researchers have discovered that imagery is the body-mind’s internal form of communication. What this means is that your body responds to an image of a thought before it responds to the words that describe that thought. Images of every emotion we have ever experienced are stored in the right side of our brain. This is why images in photographs and art evoke different emotions for every individual.

As Sarah’s angel, I would send her cards and gifts on a weekly basis. Butterflies became symbolic for us. Since we lived on opposite sides of the United States, we had a pact that when we saw a butterfly, it meant we were thinking of one another. Two weeks after we made our pact, Sarah lost her battle with cancer.

A few days after her memorial service, I was outside doing yard work. Suddenly a white butterfly appeared and flew around my head. The butterfly looked so happy soaring around and I felt a sense of peace come over me. I named her “Sarah Butterfly” and she visited me daily.

On the anniversary of Sarah’s passing, I longed to see a white butterfly. I just needed a sign that Sarah was still connected to me. The Universe is always right on time and I was directed to professional photographer, Walter Paul Bebirian’s website at I’m pretty sure that Sarah orchestrated the event.

Walter Paul Bebirian has the ability to capture images that evoke emotion. His work includes unique photographs of people, places and things. With over 9,000 photographs online, Walter’s website is a feast for the eyes and the spirit.

As I scrolled down the page, looking at the variety of subjects, the word ‘Butterflies’ jumped off the page. Not only did Walter have a photo of a white butterfly, he had three beautiful photos posted! I stared at the butterfly photos for a long time, feeling Sarah’s presence and sending prayers to her family. A simple photo of a perfect white butterfly – symbolic of transformation and growth – took away the sadness and filled my heart with joy. The one that captured my heart can be viewed at

The Arts have an incredible potential to heal. Walter understands the healing powers of art and has joined forces with the Million Artists project. This unique organization allows individuals to contribute to an innovative piece of art where everyone can add one pixel and help break a Guinness World Record. Funds raised go to support world class medical charities such as Doctors Without Borders and SickKids Foundation . For more details visit

Art helped Sarah through difficult times. Walter’s art helped soothed my pain. The Million Artists project is using art to provide assistance to children. Let us join together and support the arts. Contribute a few dollars and buy a pixel for Sarah or someone you love. In doing so, we can bring healing and comfort to those in need.

In closing, I encourage you to spend time at Walter Paul Bebirian’s web site. He is a professional with integrity and exceptional work ethics. Whatever your photography needs are, Walter can serve you well. I also encourage you to take a moment to recognize the art that already surrounds you. “Sarah Butterfly” is a small example of the many gifts the Universe offers to each of us daily. As they say, “take time to smell the roses”.

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