(WIVB) – Kathleen Maxian, who lives in Pendleton, started watercolor painting a few years ago.
She painted in college and the nonprofit founder knew it was going to be a good creative path.
“When you are working with your hands and being creative there is so much focus that there really is no room for anything else,” explained Maxian. “I think these creative opportunities are things we can all pursue to get us through the day.”
One of her creations with the name “Beautiful Survivor” is the cover of the CURE Magazine 2021 calendar. It shows the image of a mastectomy patient with a colorful flower headdress, based on a professional photoshoot of a cancer survivor.
“For me it was her way of saying that I am still beautiful in this body,” said Maxian.
Maxian’s painting was one of 12 works of art selected from over a hundred for the 2021 calendar.
“It’s beautiful – it caught the attention of a lot of editors,” said Kristie Kahl, editor-in-chief, CURE Media Group.
The calendar is a way to view the artwork of cancer patients and survivors.
“We wanted to show our viewers that they are not alone – that they can use art as a therapeutic method for dealing with their diagnosis,” said Kahl.
You can see more of the calendar or place an order here.
Maxian is the founder of the Ovarian Cancer Project, a 501c3 group dedicated to educating and supporting women with ovarian cancer and their families.
She started the organization after her own battle with ovarian cancer.
“When I was diagnosed in 2009, I was 47 years old. I was told that I had a 20 percent chance of living five years, ”Maxian recalls.
The cancer came back twice in 2011 and 2013. During this time, according to Maxian, there were no organizations she could find locally to help her with the information and support she was looking for.
So she started OCP – first in her home and now in an office in Williamsville.
“We offer evidence-based information, support groups and information for nurses. We would like to support you with this, if you want our assistance,” said Maxian.
Ovarian cancer is particularly insidious because it is so difficult to spot.
“You need to know what the symptoms and risk factors are – the symptoms can be vague and mimicking other things, and women always take care of everyone else and work really hard,” Maxian said. “This is why most women are diagnosed at an advanced stage.”
Ovarian cancer symptoms include:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Difficulty eating or filling yourself quickly
- Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
that takes more than two weeks.
Another part of OCP’s mission is to remind lawmakers of the importance of funding cancer research, especially for ovarian cancer.
She visits Washington, DC every year (except this year due to COVID-19) to help fund clinical trials and develop a screening test for ovarian cancer.
“It’s a lot to sit down with people and share stories about their constituents here and their families and children,” said Maxian.
More information about the Ovarian Cancer Project and how you can get involved can be found here.
Kaley Lynch is a digital reporter who has been on the News 4 team since 2017. You can find more information about her work here.