Meet Wendy, Warrior Guardian Angel of the Warpaint Project. Wendy lived above her diagnosis with humor, adventure, and beautiful grace. She taught us to admire the beauty in all things, especially when it comes to her favorite flower; pink and red roses. In her memory and with our great priveledge, we share her story and painting. #fightbabyfight #warriorsneverdie #warriorslikewendy
if you knew Wendy, you knew her beauty, her love of family and friends, and her love of the Buffalo Bills. You would also see her posts from inside doctor's officrs and hospital fighting stage four terminal breast cancer. On the lighter side of Wendy, she dyed her hair pink, giggled at pink stained hospital pillow sheets, laughed while she rummaged through the doctor's office drawers and smiled every chance she could.
She and I met through Mary, THE woman who inspired me to paint again after many years of artistic hibernation, who talked openly with me about her experiences with fighting cancer and showed me her double mastectomy scars. She talked with me about her painting rocks for children at Roswell and gave me all the reason I needed to #dosomething. When I consider how much impact just these two Warrior Women made on Joe and I and on our project, it is the difference between it existing and not.
Wendy Foss documented her Cancer journey through Facebook sharing photos of herself as she endured the many rounds of chemo, surgery, complications, updates, and even sharing bad news. When she and I spoke about her painting ideas she asked for a painting of roses. I couldn't draw a rose to save my life and definitely couldn't paint one, never mind her painting would need more than a dozen roses covering the canvas corner to corner. I looked through coloring books, Pinterest and Google images but I didn't understand where to start. I began watching YouTube videos and following along, watching nearly two dozen videos until I was ready to try it on canvas. At one point I was so frustrated, I almost asked her if I could paint something else but when I visited her page I would find her posting photos of a rose (talk about coincidence!)
Wendy's boyfriend gave her a single rose when she was hospitalized with pneumonia. Every day she took a new picture and I would add it to her painting. What looks like several roses is actually one rose blooming every day. To paint a rose that wouldn't fade, or die, and that came from a very special rose, is the trademark of our project. That we give a painting that cannot be purchased, or found anywhere, that will not be painted twice, that speaks to our Warriors every time they pass their artwork. Our mission is to create a gift-giving event, customizing every gift included, to act as a centerpiece for a celebration. To honor and pay tribute to a Warrior of Life; to show our Warriors we've stopped to read and share their story, that we acknowledge their fight and want to help in some way; that we will take whatever time is required, with every effort needed, to impress upon them a moment where absolutely nothing matters except their JOY; that their smiling, tearful expression, taking in almost two dozen gifts and a custom-made painting, is all we want in return.That Joy overpowers every stage and type of Cancer, every bad day, all bad news, and it infuses itself into their painting to wait until they walk by it again. We hope their painting stop them, and anyone who walks by it, embracing them with a loving memory, of a day when their fight for life was met with admirers. At least, this is what we try to do. The gifts are added so we can merely extend the time it takes to open this gift, including as many other generous and kindred souls who also want the Warrior Reveal to be as valuable and abundant as it can.
We too are the recipients of a gift that overpowers all negativity, a gift of wisdom bestowed at great price; that we are witness to a #warwithin as each of our Warriors face an enemy who may take their life anyway. To know you will die yet to fight anyway is about the most generous action I've ever known. Joe and I submerged ourselves in the center of a world of Cancer, Autism, Downs Syndrome, and other types of life-altering diagnosis, knowing we may hear our Warriors have passed overnight, knowing more than half of our Warriors will not survive, knowing we will grieve like we've lost one of our own family members. We cannot live, or operate the Warpaint Project, with fear or to cushion our grief. We must live in a world where we do everything we can today, to get to as many families as we can, so each of them can experience a moment where cancer doesn't exist, where happiness rules, and where the faith in mankind is restored. Sweet Wendy, there are people in the world like Joe and I, like our Giftbox Sponsors, who #giveadamn about your day today and care about your fight.
The Warrior Women of The WarPaint Project: Custom Artwork For Warriors of Life are precious, beautiful, and important to us, teaching us about gratitude for life. They answer the question "what if' with a hopeful and encouraging view. Joe and I know the other side, we've considered 'what if' many times. If you ask it correctly, the answer will bring you to your knees with gratitude that you don't have to know what 'beating' Cancer is like. Even then, a life-sentence of emotional trauma and living every day wondering if it's returned. All we can say is we are here, we take you so seriously, and we will find solutions and resources for you. I promise we will.
In every moment, you have the opportunity to do something for someone else in a way that speaks to your admiration, love, and respect for them. Our project uses paintings and handmade, donated gifts, given to individuals who are fighting for their lives. This is a free gift. We've paid every expense, out of pocket, for 18 months. The donations you've given made it possible that we become a 501c3 Nonprofit organization, tax exempt. With your donations we are offering our Warriors free Art kits containing all supplies needed to create art while they recover. Each kit will cost us around $70/each + shipping, and comes with free lessons and coaching. We are also setting up an online store for each of our Warriors to sell their artwork on totes, mugs, and tees, keeping 100% of their profit. Help us get Paint-A-Wish off the ground and let's give them one more gift; the gift of their #artistwithin
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Thank you for all your support and for reading these posts. They sure put things into perspective for us!
Love you Wendy. Always in our thoughts
Aubre and Joe
The WarPaint Project 501c3
Artwork inspired by Warriors of Cancer and Life