Billings Clinic
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March 6, 2012

Billings Clinic Selected as Candidate for LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project

Winners will be determined by an online voting campaign;
Funds will better the lives of people affected by cancer

Billings, MT - Billings Clinic is a finalist for a year-long arts in medicine project funded by a grant from LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. This LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project grant brings an Artist-in-Residence (AiR) into the hospital to work bedside to offer patients the opportunity to access their own creative resources while meeting the challenges of illness. This project would be the first Artist-in-Residence program in a healthcare institution in Montana. Billings Clinic is asking citizens from the community and across the state to vote for the program at http://vote.livestrong.org/vote2012/applicants/86-billings-clinic//.

Billings Clinic is competing with other organizations from the western U.S. for the LIVESTRONG grant. Voting opens March 7 at 10am (CST) and closes at 5pm (CST) on March 23. The organization that gathers the most online votes will win $15,000 to fund an Artist-in-Residence bedside arts program.

Making art has been proven to lessen a patient's anxiety, fear, stress, and loneliness. An artist works with patients bedside or in small group settings - in oncology units, intensive care/respiratory units, hospice and palliative care programs. Karyl Blaseg, the manager of cancer center programs at Billings Clinic Cancer Center, believes the AiR program could improve the health care experience of patients.

"Artist-in-Residence programs are very effective in helping patients to express themselves through art and deal with the stressors of a cancer diagnosis. These activities help patients focus on something other than their cancer so that they can relax and promote their own healing … the healing of their spirit. The LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project offers a unique opportunity for Billings Clinic to engage community support for a much needed, first-in-Montana, Artist-in-Residence program."

The purpose of the program is to bring arts to people with cancer and chronic illness through all stages of life as a way to help them discover their own creative resources while meeting the challenges of diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship.

The Billings YMCA is also in the running for a LIVESTRONG grant which would offer people with cancer and chronic illness a safe, supportive environment to participate in physical and social activities. The YMCA and the Artist-in-Residence Program do not compete against one another in the LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project. Billings Clinic encourages the public to vote online for both programs.



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