Cards of Hope Lift Spirits - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Cards of Hope Lift Spirits

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Kind words can make all the difference to those facing adversity.

Handwritten notes are flooding in to patients at the Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo, and they're coming from an unexpected place.

Even the smallest words can be the strongest.

For these cancer patients, hope came in a stack of "get well" cards.

"When I came in to meet with a bunch of different teachers from South Side Fargo Public Schools, I asked them to make cards with stuff that made them happy," Heather Zinger, Artist in Residence at the cancer center, said. "It was more about them sharing joy."

Zinger turned to this Lincoln Elementary classroom to brighten up her ward.

Cards came in with dozens of pictures of flowers, and one sketch of a dog, which landed in Joe Holler's lap as he waited for treatment.

"You don't know what a lift and what a joy it is to get one of these cards," Joe said.

He's battling stage four cancer. Doctors told him he'd have a little over a year, but second grader Bronwyn Brotherson had a different message.

Inside a folded picture of a dog Bronwyn wrote this: "I hope this picture of a pet makes you happy."

Joe picked the card out of a stack inches deep. He said it reminded him of his pets, parts of life that did, in fact, make him happy.

"Art, in this way, is connector and it helps to connect them to those parts of them that are beyond cancer," Zinger said.

Joe is a war veteran. He says he's been awarded for fighting during his service, but this is the first time he's been recognized for living.

"This little girl that gave me this card, she will never know what she gave me that day," he said.

Now, Joe's outlook is stronger than his prognosis.

It took just a handful of words to bring him to his knees, and to lift him up again.

"I believe I can beat it. I believe in nine months, I'll be cancer-free."

Elementary school students throughout South Fargo public schools drew cards for the patients at the cancer center.

Zinger says they've lifted everyone's spirits.

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