What do you do when the generosity of a stranger saves the life of someone you love? Hiltons, Va., artist Donna Kaylor chose to say “thank you” with canvas and brush.
In recent months, Kaylor has seen the CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery System at Bristol Regional Medical Center give new hope to three friends and relatives with life-threatening cancer. When she read in the newspaper that purchase of the CyberKnife was made possible by a gift from J.D. and Lorraine Nicewonder of Bristol, Kaylor began creating a unique expression of gratitude.
She recently presented two original watercolors to the Nicewonders – one, an iris representing Tennessee, and the other, a dogwood representing Virginia.
“I wanted the Nicewonders to know what impact their gift has already had on this area,” said Kaylor, herself a breast cancer survivor. “And I know the CyberKnife will affect the lives of those in many other states and probably other countries as well.
“I already know so many people who might not be here today if it wasn’t for this wonderful gift.”
Kaylor’s neighbor and the close friend of a co-worker have both undergone CyberKnife treatment for brain cancer. And her brother-in-law was recently treated for throat cancer. All have responded well to treatment.
“The tumor was wrapped around an artery that led to his brain, so there was no way to operate,” Kaylor said of her brother-in-law. “The CyberKnife was his only chance.”
Bristol Regional is one of just 16 hospitals nationwide to offer the innovative CyberKnife system, which allows physicians to treat tumors throughout the body that once would have been inoperable. Treatment is non-invasive and is usually completed on an outpatient basis.
“I am amazed by how much this technology has already affected our lives,” Kaylor said.