Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
New Brunswick • Somerset

Day of Hope Flags Displayed in Basking Ridge Art Exhibit

August 10, 2010
As part of Somerset Medical Center's Day of Hope cancer survivor celebration in June, patients at the medical center's Steeplechase Cancer Center and their caregivers, family members and friends were asked to create special flags to offer inspiration and encouragement to those battling cancer or honor loved ones who died from the disease. More than 300 flags were made as part of this effort and were displayed in the medical center's Steeplechase Cancer Center lobby throughout the Day of Hope on June 24. The flags were also displayed at the day's culminating event, Music at Moorland, an outdoor concert by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in Far Hills, which benefited Somerset Medical Center.

Twenty of the flags are on display until the end of August at an art exhibit at the Albrook Montessori School in Basking Ridge. The exhibit is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday through Friday. 

When Sandy Ruda, a volunteer for the Somerset Arts Association, and the art gallery consultant for the Albrook School, learned that patients and caregivers were making the flags for the Day of Hope, she knew that they would make a great display for her August exhibit.

"Displaying the flags in the school was a nice way for us to give back to the community," Ruda said. "Everybody can relate to them: the teachers, visitors and young children all receive unique messages of hope and inspiration from the artwork."

"The Day of Hope flag making served as a great opportunity for cancer patients to translate their unique cancer experience, thoughts and feelings into an art form," said Nancy Cullinan, clinical social worker at the Steeplechase Cancer Center at Somerset Medical Center, who coordinated the flag making. "But, the true value of the flag making was that it allowed for everyone -- patients, family members, providers and caregivers -- to see the universal themes and emotions experienced by those in the cancer world, giving great visibility to the emotional traumas, healings and hopes of our patients."

The Day of Hope was held in conjunction with National Cancer Survivors Day, an annual worldwide celebration of life in which participants unite to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful and productive. For more information about the Steeplechase Cancer Center at Somerset Medical Center, visit steeplechasecancercenter.com.