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Teacher Turned Artist: Breast Cancer Survivor Helps Others Grieve Through Art

"Many of them were told his children that they didn’t have it or weren't artists, and I think it’s very important that people know that everybody has it within them."

Posted: Oct. 18, 2018 6:30 PM
Updated: Oct. 19, 2018 10:00 AM

SHADY COVE, Ore. -- A breast cancer survivor is helping people through hard times with art, after she discovered her own passion during her cancer battle. 

Kathy Donner Parara was diagnosed in 2011, and took up art as part of her healing process. 

"I was a teacher for 27 years and a school administrator, so I always had craftiness in my classroom and my schools," Parara said. "However ... I didn’t qualify myself as an artist."

But she found it was something she could do in the privacy of her own home, while she was still in a lot of pain. 

Now, she teaches art classes at A Place for Friends Art Studio, where she says people of all ages, for any occasion, can learn that they are an artist: a lesson she learned during her breast cancer journey. 

"People are sometimes slightly negative in their view of themselves about art," Parara said. "Many of them were told his children that they didn’t have it or weren't artists, and I think it’s very important that people know that everybody has it within them."

Sometimes she gets gets for her classes, sometimes for birthday parties, but other times, as part of a grieving process.

"We’ve had people share the death of their children and spouses and certainly illness, but people come in and art is a way to just kind of sit around in an intimate setting, start chatting, and making art, and feeling better when we leave," Parara said. 

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