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Time at the Lodge leads to new passion

For Frankie-Marie Barnett, one of the hardest things about having treatment for thyroid cancer was having to be away from her young son.

The radioactive iodine treatment Frankie-Marie needed meant she had to isolate herself from others, especially vulnerable people like children and pregnant women.

This is why Frankie-Marie is thankful for Cancer Society’s Lions Lodge providing a home away from home when her treatment meant she couldn’t be around her family. 

While Frankie-Marie had to isolate herself in her room during her stay at the Lodge and avoid contact with others, she says she never felt lonely.

“From the first day, staff welcomed me with big smiles. I never felt alone. The staff would ring up and ask if I needed anything, and the nurses would call and ask how things are going, which was really cool.”

Knowing she’d have a lot of time on her hands while in isolation, Frankie-Marie wasn’t sure how she’d manage to fill in three weeks on her own. Although she’d never painted before, she took a leap and stocked up on art supplies. 

Frankie-Marie Barnett with her painting
Frankie-Marie Barnett with her painting
Frankie-Marie Barnett with her painting

Now she’s gifted one of her artworks to the Lodge. Every brushstroke tells a very special story – the view from the Lodge over Lake Rotoroa and Mount Pirongia, the hot air balloons rising on the crisp autumn mornings during her stay, the daffodil symbolising her cancer experience and the heart which tells the story of the people she’s met along the way.

“I’ve always loved craft and had a passion to create. So this project hit home to me. It was emotional but uplifting, at a time when I’m away from my family.”

The artwork is one of a pair. The other Frankie-Marie takes home as a memento of her time at the Lodge.

“I wanted to gift the painting to the Lodge, but I made a second to remember my experience here and the journey I went through.”

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