Cancer survivor opens inspirational art studio

SHADY COVE, Ore. – Six years after a hard fought battle with breast cancer, a Shady Cove woman is pursuing the hobby she says got her through her difficult health journey. Now, she’s hoping she can inspire more women battling the disease.

“I had not picked up a paint brush probably since I was a child and now I can’t put it down,” Kathy Parara said.

She’s putting the finishing touches on her new Shady Cove art studio “A Place for Friends”. “I want it to be a place where people can explore and express themselves and have a teeny tiny escape from reality,” Kathy said.

It’s that escape from the heavy stresses of everyday life that Kathy credits as her own personal saving grace. “I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and it was very shocking to me because I had had routine mammograms.”

Blind-sided by her diagnosis–and dealing with the ups and downs of treatment and multiple surgeries–the retired teacher of more than 20 years would eventually turn to an old passion to lighten her mood.

“Art gives me a sense of peace,” she explained. “And I was absolutely hooked. I had paint, I had scrapbook paper, ribbon you know… all of it.”

For Kathy, her mixed media art projects became more than a hobby–it was her therapy.

“In my recovery, probably 250 pieces which is pretty crazy, it’s a lot.”

And now, in her brightly colored tiny shop off Highway 62, Kathy is hoping others will come and experience the same joy art has brought her. She said, “Every day is a blessing. If you take one look around my studio I’m sure you will see that.”

A Place for Friends art studio celebrates its grand opening Saturday, October 14 at 10:30 a.m.

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