Zaneta Smith and Curtis Hamilton
The Story
Zaneta Smith
Oak Park, IL
Lymphoma Survivor
Twist on Cancer: Working with the Artist, Curtis Hamilton has been a truly wonderful experience. Curtis and I connected right from the start. His wife Lee is a nurse so we have a lot in common. I have felt like the match with Curtis was a match made in Heaven.
At the time that I applied to be an Inspiration with Brushes with Cancer, I was seeking out an art therapist who could help me put my cancer journey to paper or some other kind of medium. All of my efforts fell by the wayside. I had started to give up.
Also, I at that time did not want to continue to talk about my cancer, I wanted to express what I had been through and was currently living with. I think I was tired of talking. I wanted to use my hands to “show my cancer journey”. To be matched with an artist of Curtis stature was both amazing and scary at the same time.
What would I say to him, how would I communicate what I have been through?
Would he be turned off by my faith in God? Would he be bored with my cancer story?
When I talked with him for the very first time, I felt totally at ease. We talked about our families and our lives. I don’t even think we talked much about my cancers.
Conversations since have been fun and uplifting. Curtis encourages me to see the positive in things and to continue to go out and enjoy life. To not dwell on the negative. My negative in life has not been my cancers but my job situation. He has encouraged me to continue to find the job that will suit me best.

Incorporating my faith:
My faith is at the center of my life and everything that I do. Curtis has sent me pictures of biblical characters that have truly lifted my spirit in my low times. He does not shy away when I speak about my faith.
His art is so expressive. I can almost at times feel what he has created in his art. The emotions of those he has drawn. This is what I was looking for in my own life. I wanted to put to paper what I was actually feeling. Curt showed me through his art that it can be done. I am so grateful for this.
Great Friend:
Curtis has also become a great friend. We have never seen each other in person. We have only talked over the phone. I have told him I feel like I have found a new friend. Working with Curtis has been a highlight for me. Not only did I get to know the Artist, Curtis Hamilton, but I was able to get to know the man behind the art.

I discovered a man who is passionate about his family; a man who is a wonderful blessing to his wife; a man with a great listening ear; a man who is a complete jokester; a man who takes his art seriously and a man who is a great husband to Lee and a great father and champion to his kids. He is very invested in the lives of his family. This is so admirable.

Thank you Brushes with Cancer for introducing me to Curtis Hamilton. He has both enriched and added value to my life. He has become one of the added blessings of having cancer.

Cancer has the ability to take so much out of a person's life. Physically, emotionally and mentally. Cancer has the ability to take no prisoners. Cancer can be a very dark place to be in.

People like Curtis Hamilton and organizations like Twist Out Cancer are the lights in the dark tunnel of Cancer. They give you hope. They help you to focus on you and not the cancer. They let you know that you are more than your cancer.
Curtis Hamilton
Northfield, IL
Social Media: @paintmyhero (IG)
“Eternal Hope”
Mixed Digital / Acrylic
48" x 36" x 2"
Artist Statement: The artwork was inspired by my new friend, Zaneta. Over the past few months, we've talked about hope, enthusiasm, positivity, perseverance, frustration, health, family... She spoke of her Christian devotion and her spirituality. She made me aware of how people's faith is a strong influence of how they view the possibility of life being positively influenced and affected by their devotion to their faith. And after reflecting on that concept and how hope is so strongly reflected in the young children, I decided to attempt to capture that commitment to "eternal hope" through their eyes and faces.