Cancer Center’s Tree Lighting Ceremony Celebrates Survivorship

Ornaments created by cancer survivors reflect spirit of hope at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center

(Baton Rouge, La.) Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center held its annual  holiday tree lighting and survivorship holiday party Tuesday, Dec. 5. Three Celebration Trees were lit and adorned with ornaments hand-painted by cancer survivors and family members, volunteers as well as Cancer Center team members.

The theme for the art project, an offering of the Cancer Center’s THRIVE survivorship program, was “What inspires you?” Through ornament painting, participants used pictures and positive words to convey what will inspire them this holiday season. This year’s ornaments took the form of miniature artist canvases displayed on easels with patients, family and team members using acrylic paints to create their beautiful art. Almost 300 pieces were decorated and displayed on three trees.

During a brief program, Francinne Lawrence, Ph.D., manager of the Cancer Center’s survivorship and integrative medicine department, shared how the ornament decorating is part of the organization’s Healing Arts program. Art is proven through research and science to influence healing and make a significant impact on patients.

“Much like the beautiful, soothing environment of the Cancer Center, Healing Art is another tool we use to place survivors in a more open and relaxed state of mind to help them heal and begin anew after treatment,” said Dr. Lawrence. “The Cancer Center’s approach is to take every opportunity through medicine, programs and supportive services to help patients thrive after a cancer diagnosis.”

Also as part of the program, inspirational poems were read by cancer survivor Paula Samuels. In addition, Dr. Lawrence thanked the volunteers who helped coordinate the ornament decorating, including Susan Cresap, Velma Alford and Petronilla Neal. The Red Shoes, a nonprofit center offering opportunities for spiritual enrichment and personal growth through book and film studies, weekend retreats, and workshops, received a special recognition award in thanks for the organization’s support in providing services to cancer survivors throughout the year.


About Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center
As a regional destination for cancer care, Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center offers the most advance technology and services provided by a dedicated team of nationally-recognized oncology experts. The Cancer Center provides best-practice, comprehensive care at every stage of the cancer journey, including disease site-specific multidisciplinary care teams, a robust clinical research program, extensive supportive care services and is the only facility in the Gulf South with the revolutionary Leksell Gamma Knife®Icon™. The American College of Surgeons has named the Cancer Center a recipient of its prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award for three consecutive survey cycles. As a nonprofit organization, donor generosity is essential to sustaining the mission of improving survivorship and lessening the burden of cancer for so many throughout Southeast Louisiana and beyond. For more information on the Cancer Center, and how you can become involved, please visit