December News


Write from the Heart: From a Contest to a Program

Write from the Heart provides a therapeutic outlet for teens to tell their stories, through the process of writing, on the impact that cancer has had on their lives.

Write from the Heart was first developed in 2014 as a one-time contest. However, after receiving 70 submissions from teens across Idaho in our first year and over 80 essays in the second year, we decided this program was too impactful not to continue and grow. We have witnessed the power and emotion of these stories and have set our sights on expanding this program.

 With the help of generous donors, and a grant from Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation, we were able to collaborate with students from One Stone’s Two Bird Studio to create an interactive website for the program. This new website will allow teens across the state to sign up for the program and opt to work with a teacher mentor from the Boise State Writing Project, as well as participate in discussions with their peers. The website will help us to reach even more young Idahoans in 2016 and strengthen their writing experience with the help of mentors.

The new website will launch in January, with final essay submissions due in March. The top twelve essay finalists will receive a $500 award and be invited to Boise to participate in fun activities with their peers and mentors. The program will culminate with a Brunch Celebration at the Owyhee Plaza on Saturday, May 7th from 11-1 pm. 

Thank you to all the teen writers, donors, and supporters who make this amazing program a reality. If you know an Idaho teen (13-19) impacted by cancer, be sure and tell them about this opportunity. 

Interested in being a 2016 sponsor?




“I Have Breast Cancer”
– An Artistic Catharsis

Barbara McCaslin-Sand saw herself as an active, strong, youthful older woman, until August of 2014, when she was diagnosed with Stage II Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer. Like so many others, she was “thrown for a loop” by her diagnosis, especially since she’d never had a questionable mammogram. Despite a good prognosis, she was filled with fear that her cancer would return. And instead of feeling better after her treatment was finished, she felt incredibly tired and overwhelmed.

Enter: Asian brush painting (sumi-e).

“On most days, even when I had very little energy and was full of anxiety, I managed to sit in my art space, dip my favorite old bamboo brush in the rich black sumi ink, and paint lines and dots or soft petals onto the white rice paper. On some days, the practice turned into a composition which helped me find expression for  my deepest feelings.” 

On one particular morning, a warm-up exercise turned into the expression of how she “saw” her radiation treatment. This inspired a series of paintings and collages about her breast cancer experience. Months and works later, she had manged to express her many emotions; “anger, sadness, fear, but also humor and beauty.”

Barbara’s twelve piece collection will be on display at our Holiday Open House, on Friday, December 11, 2015. Stop by between 4:00 and 6:00 pm for light refreshments, good company, and great art. 

Editor’s Note: Barbara’s art is honest, raw, beautiful, and relatable, even if you haven’t had breast cancer. Don’t miss it.