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.) Jingle bells rang out during the countdown of the annual Celebration Tree lighting at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, Thursday, Dec. 1. Three Celebration Trees were lit and adorned with ornaments hand-painted by cancer survivors and family members, as well as Cancer Center team members.

The theme for the art project, an offering of the Cancer Center’s survivorship program, was “holiday wishes.” Through ornament painting, participants used pictures and positive words to convey what they wish for themselves and others this holiday season. Creating a unique design on bisque ornaments proved to be inspirational and fun for so many that it ultimately took three trees to hold all the almost 300 pieces. The project was led by the Cancer Center’s survivorship department’s staff and art volunteers.

“Art is an integral part of the programming we offer to survivors,” said Francinne Lawrence, Ph.D., manager of survivorship services. “It’s been confirmed through research and science that art can influence healing, and the survivors and family members who participate in our Healing Arts program share with us often that it does make a significant impact on their recovery.”

An inspirational poem read by cancer survivor Paula Samuels provided a special touch for the occasion. In addition, Lawrence thanked the volunteers who helped coordinate the ornament decorating, including Susan Cresap, Jessica Nguyen, Becky Simmons and Cheryl Strehle.

Individual jingle bells, each on a lanyard and accompanied by a holiday card, were distributed to those attending the tree lighing event. The bells symolize the special bell survivors ring on their last day of treatment.


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 advanced 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™. 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