Dalia said she is working toward an outreach ministry for pediatric cancer patients and their families.
A letter she wrote to Gov. Rick Scott recently helped prompt him to recognize September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. A copy of the Sept. 3 proclamation she received now hangs in the Children’s Hospital.
“(Evan) went through a lot, but some of these kids go through unspeakable things fighting cancer,” Dalia said. “These families really need the community’s help.”
Evan said he plans to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer through his artwork, signing each painting with a gold ribbon near his name. The masterpiece that graces the hospital wall serves as a powerful testament to other teens still undergoing the daily stress of the disease, pediatric oncologist Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz said.
“I think knowing that one of our former patients painted that picture, especially for some of the older kids, makes a difference because they can say, ‘Look, I can get through this, and I can go on to do amazing things, also,’ “ Schwartz said.
Through his work, Evan has had the opportunity to meet other young cancer patients at the hospital, sharing stories and letting them name the fish in his mural.
His message to them is simple but powerful.
“Never give up. Never, ever, ever give up,” he said. “There were times when I thought that this would be my life forever, and there was a lot of pain I was going through, but just don’t give up.”