A Wheaton woman was having a hard time coping after she began treatment for cancer, but a coloring book that she created is helping others to cope with the difficult, and occasionally absurd, challenges of battling the disease.
Jeri Davis says that the road through the early stages of cancer treatment was a challenging one.
“I didn’t want to be sad, because I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be,” she said.
As time went on, Davis says that she started to see humor in things all around her, and she began to write down the thoughts she was having during the experience.
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“I had one eyelash,” she recalls. “And I thought ‘okay mascara, let’s go.’ It was one of those moments when I had to make myself laugh, because that’s how I was going to get through it.”
Davis ended up collecting over 50 thoughts, then reached out to her former advertising colleagues for help in illustrating a coloring book, which ended up being titled “Greetings From Chemo County.”
Then, her oncologist introduced her to Angela McCrum, the director of Northwestern Medicine’s LivingWell Cancer Resource Center. McCrum was immediately drawn to the project, saying that humor can be a powerful healing force.
“No matter if you’re a patient or a caregiver or a nurse at a hospital, there’s something that’s relatable in the book that will make somebody smile,” she said.
The book has been popular among LivingWell participants, including April Sedell, who saw the book for the first time recently.
“I thought that was a really good take on how crazy it is in this day and age when you have all these horrendous side effects,” she said.
Cheri Hunt, who teaches art classes at the resource center, says she plans to use the coloring book in her curriculum.
“Jeri is an inspiration for so many people. It’s really awesome,” she said.
The book is not technically for sale, but individuals who donate $20 or more to the Extra Lineas Corporation will receive a copy of the book.
The group uses profits from the donations to fund unique therapies, using “art and humor to help cancer patients cope” with their diagnosis and treatment, according to the website.