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  • Writer's pictureHannah Johnston

Two young girls use art therapy to brighten residents' days in palliative care.

Olivia Dabaiya (7), began art therapy at the Teresa Dellar Palliative Care Residence after the death of her grandmother. Her mother, Lianne Watt, reached out to the Residence's art therapist, Sarah Tevyaw, and together, Sarah and Olivia worked on meaningful art projects that will remind her of her grandmother, such as a teddy bear they sewed together, with a note for her Nana inside.

Olivia wanted to continue to create artwork, this time to spread joy and happiness to all the residents after the sadness she felt with the passing of her beloved grandmother. Her stepsister Roxanne Lanthier (8) then jumped on board, and the two worked together for a week to make the 30 pictures in time for the end of summer. The girls worked hard to paint flowers, nature, or handprints; wherever their creativity led them. Olivia went to drop the pictures off for each resident, who were very grateful to receive the handmade art pieces.

Roxanne was happy to use art as a medium to bring smiles to the faces of residents and their families. The two used their home studio and art supplies, as well as the Residence's studio, to make the creations. They have big plans to continue the spirit of giving into the holiday season, perhaps with the distribution of homemade ornaments.

The art therapy was a way for Olivia to talk about her feelings and navigate grieving the loss of her grandmother. Her mother joined the Residence's bereavement group and commended the extensive services available to her, even though her mother was not in the residence's care. Some of their services extend to everyone and are part of the TDPCR's outreach beyond the West Island. More about the residence's supportive care programs for family and residents can be found here, and further bereavement group information is available here.

The Residence took to Facebook to congratulate the girls on their work,

"They spread smiles and brought comfort in ways words can't describe. Let's applaud these young artists for reminding us that a small act of compassion can create waves of happiness."
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