When Highlands Ranch resident Kate Blakeman was 5 years old, she was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, a type of blood cancer. The timing was just six weeks after her family had moved to south metro Denver from Chicago. She was in treatment …
When Highlands Ranch resident Kate Blakeman was 5 years old, she was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, a type of blood cancer. The timing was just six weeks after her family had moved to south metro Denver from Chicago. She was in treatment for about two years and spent about four weeks at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
“They did a phenomenal job of taking care of her,” her mother, Kathleen, said. “You do feel like family.”
Blakeman, now 12 and more than five years cancer-free, likes to sing, read and bike ride with her dog. She also loves to draw, specifically animations, people and animals.
This year, her drawing of Steamboat Springs — the Colorado ski town that her family visits almost every year — will be featured on Children’s Hospital Colorado’s annual holiday cards.
“It’s a cute little town,” Blakeman said. “Over the streets they have wreaths and bows. It’s just so pretty with all of the snow.”
Every June, patients or former patients of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital Colorado create holiday artwork. In August, staff and parents vote for three favorite drawings. There is also an open house for representatives who are interested in sponsoring a drawing for the holiday season.
Winning designs are made into cards and sold online and throughout the community. All proceeds go to the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
This year, Blakeman was one of seven artists selected.
She started brainstorming her design several months ago. Her mother encouraged her to take anything she loved and incorporate a Christmas theme. So Blakeman chose one of her favorite ski towns. She crafted a street lined with colorful buildings covered in blue snowflakes. Blakeman, a snowboarder, made sure to include a “Ski and Board Shop.”
The holiday art contest is as rewarding for participants as it is for the hospital’s staff.
“We’re honored to sponsor this annual contest which allows our sponsors to recognize these children for their creativity, and shares the artists’ inspiring outlook with the community through the holiday cards,” said Kathleen McBride, director of Association of Volunteers at Children’s Hospital Colorado.