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Ceiling Tiles Brighten Hospital Setting for Cancer Patients


MC art education student Leah Whisenant of Madison designed this ceiling tile to be installed at a treatment room for cancer patients at a Jackson hospital.

Mississippi College students created ceiling tiles to brighten the surroundings for cancer patients at a Jackson hospital.

Art education majors Lauren Fiegle and Leah Whisenant are crafting six decorative tiles for radiation treatment rooms at Merit Health Central Hospital.

Until recently known as Central Mississippi Medical Center, the 429-bed hospital is located just a few miles from the Mississippi College campus in Clinton.

The works created by the two MC students were recently named winners in the Love Light- Healing Ceiling art contest. The Radiation Oncology Unit in the hospital’s Cancer Care program serves as the contest sponsor.

“Both of the entries chosen really stood out as something we felt would give our patients comfort and inspiration during their fight against cancer,” says Andrea Zarich, an oncology nurse at Merit Health Central Hospital.

A resident of Merritt Island, Florida, Fiegle says her painting depicting a tranquil scene of water was inspired by the works of the artist Monet.

“Growing up by the ocean, water has always been something that is peaceful,” Lauren says. “I wanted to bring that peaceful element to my painting for the cancer patients undergoing treatment.”

The 21-year-old points to other reasons that motivated her artistic work in the Love Light-Healing Ceiling contest. “I’ve seen the effects cancer can have in close friends and family members.”

Her new painting is among the half dozen tiles that will be installed at  the medical facility at 1850 Chadwick Drive. “Hopefully, they will bring a bit of joy to whoever needs it.”

A Madison resident, Leah Whisenant worked on a painting reflecting a glorious sunset. All six tiles are expected to be installed at the hospital in March, says MC art education professor Stephanie Busbea.

Hospital officials are looking forward to it.

“We are thrilled to have beautiful and peaceful art our patients can see while undergoing their treatment at the Cancer Care program at Merit Health Central,” says Jana L. Fuss, the hospital’s director of communications.

Zarich enjoys working with the Mississippi College art students. “We are excited to have young talent interested in serving others.” The ceiling tiles, she said, will give cancer patients a treatment area “with serenity as a focus.”

The art project also sends an important message to cancer patients at the Jackson hospital. It tells them, the oncology nurse said, that “others care what they are going through.”

Leah Whisenant notes her personal experiences as a hospital patient. “Being a brain tumor patient myself, I know what it feels like to go into an MRI or radiation treatments,” she says.

“The tile above gives us a place or something to think about when entering the MRI. The tile I remember is a sunset. This was part of my inspiration knowing how it helped me and how it will help other cancer patients.”