Thanks to our Air Arts Team and support from a former a cancer patient, we have proudly unveiled our latest piece of reflection artwork in our Combined Day Unit (CDU) at Royal Derby Hospital.
The reflection wall is a new piece of artwork based on a piece of poetry written by Josie Jeffries, who underwent treatment in CDU last year after being diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2021.
Josie went through twelve rounds of chemotherapy in total from January - July 2021 and an operation after it was discovered she had breast cancer which had spread to her lymph nodes.
Josie said: “When I was having my treatment, I heard the end of treatment bell being rung and I always looked at it and thought that it was something I was aiming for. But for me, it made such a loud noise and I always thought that if I got to that point, I would want to do something quieter and more reflective – and that is where the idea for the reflection stone came about.
“For me, it symbolises a full stop. For others, it’s like the end of a chapter of their life or a marker of the next phase and is a quieter alternative to the bell and gives you chance to pause and reflect on your journey.”
Josie fundraised over £1,500 to fund the new installation and the unit asked Air Arts to develop a poem she wrote into the artwork.
Josie continue: “When I reached out to Air Arts, they didn’t just listen to me, they heard what I had to say and made this idea become a reality.”
As well as the £1,500 for the new artwork, Josie has also raised more than £13,000 for Breast Cancer UK and around £8,000 for Derby and Burton Hospitals Charity through a Facebook group called ‘Reclaim the Curl’.
Josie attended the unveiling of the artwork alongside Laura Waters, Head of Arts at Air Arts, Paul Brooks, Director of Patient Experience, Estates and Facilities Bella Bradley-Webster, Senior Sister in CDU.
Laura said: “It’s been a joy to work on this project and create something beautiful and meaningful for patients completing their cancer treatments. Josie asked us to create something to give people the chance for quiet contemplation on completing their treatment to go alongside the traditional option of ringing a bell. Talking to Josie and reading her poem, I understood how important this moment is for people and that providing a more reflective option could be very supportive for a lot of patients and create a really positive experience.
“We worked with our designer and came up with the idea of placing hands on a stone so it was a similar tactile activity as ringing the bell. We wanted to have something that people could touch, so it felt real and represented a significant moment. We chose circles as the background image to signify the never-ending circle of life and to represent the ripple effect of our actions on the world, such as you get by throwing a stone into water, or by the soundwaves created by ringing a bell.
“This is to signify the impact of returning to ‘normal life’ and the ability to continue to play a part in the world and create your own ripples and waves as you interact with the world again. The purple represents the colour scheme of our cancer services unit and is a restful, calm colour.”