Monique’s Story

Make an Impact

Bon Secours - Hampton Roads, VA

Art therapy classes help heal Monique's spirit during her cancer battle

It’s never easy to learn that you have cancer. Unfortunately, Monique Smith learned that the hard way.

“When I first found out I had cancer, I thought it was the end of the world,” she said of her breast cancer diagnosis.

As she was undergoing surgeries and chemo, Monique felt great sadness, but also an overwhelming need to hide her feelings for the sake of those around her. It wasn’t until she learned of Bon Secours Oncology Program’s Breast Cancer Awareness “Virtual” Workshops that she felt she had an outlet for those emotions.

“One class, it was amazing to me because it touched my spirit,” Monique said of an early class that worked with beads. “It was a relaxing therapy and I really enjoyed it. In others, they showed us how to do painting and how to write a poem about our feelings.”

An elderly Black woman is sitting on a bench outside and holding up a self-made painting.
Monique shows off a painting she made during one of the workshops
“It really helped to pull out your feelings that you had tucked inside about what you were going through with your cancer.”


The workshops, which are supported in part by your generous donations, also provided an added benefit to Monique.

“I’m grateful for the program because it helps me to relate to other people who are going through similar things as I am, so I don’t feel so alone,” she said. “To be alone means you’re not going to get through it like you should.”

“Being connected to others and being able to support them as well is important. If you tell your story, you can help somebody else get through theirs.”