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Hospital art cart up for Livestrong grant

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Posted: Monday, March 25, 2013 12:15 am

All Dylan Klempner wants is for cancer patients to be able embrace art in all its forms. Livestrong might be able to help him with that.

Shands at UF’s Arts in Medicine program is a candidate for a grant from the Livestrong Community Impact Project, which offers $1.2 million to bring cancer support programs to communities across the country, according to a Livestrong press release.

Finalists, which will be determined by online voting, will receive funding from Livestrong to help implement programs that improve the lives of cancer patients. Voting, which is at www.vote.livestrong.org/regions/4/ under the “The Creative Center at University Settlement” section, ends Thursday.

If UF wins, part of the money will go toward expanding the Mobile Inspiration Station, a program run by Klempner, an artist in residence at Shands at UF. The station is a cart filled with art, writing and music supplies Klempner brings to cancer patients’ bedsides to inspire them to take part in art activities.

The grant would allow for weekly visual art and writing workshops for cancer patients in all stages of diagnosis.

“I feel when people are dealing with any kind of serious illness, they just want to make meaning of their lives,” Klempner said. “Art does that better than anything else. It heals in a holistic way.”

Courtney Smeriglio, a 20-year-old UF psychology junior and a volunteer for Klempner, said the possibility of a grant from Livestrong provides hope.

“We won’t have to worry about money,” she said. “It’s nice not to have that stress.”

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