Cancer Survivor on a Mission to Color Out Cancer | by Jeannette Moninger

Infusion Services at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree

Posted on Thu, Sep 10, 2020

When patients come to Infusion Services at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, they are greeted by vibrant, uplifting sayings hand-colored by patient Marianne Dahl. A resident of Golden, Dahl was diagnosed with stage 3 endometrial cancer and clear cell carcinoma of the cervix last June. Cancerous cells had spread to her stomach and lymph nodes. 

Marianne Dahl, Color Out Cancer

Photo above: Marianne Dahl (left) looks on with chemotherapy nurse Simone Remley at Sky Ridge Infusion Center. Pictured here: One of many hand-colored mantras decorating the walls at Sky Ridge Medical Center.

After gynecologic oncologist Dr. Jeffrey James performed a complete hysterectomy, Dahl underwent weeks of chemotherapy treatments at Sky Ridge. “Cancer is certainly a scary diagnosis with a lot of unknowns, but I truly believe that a positive attitude can make all the difference in beating the disease,” says Dahl, who found the infusion area too depressing. “I thought that we could all benefit from a pick-me-up.” 

Dahl decided to brighten up the physical space, as well as the moods of others, by decorating the walls with inspiring mantras. “I bought several adult coloring books that had mantras of strength and encouragement specifically for people facing cancer,” says Dahl. Armed with a rainbow of markers, Dahl embarked on a personal mission to “color out cancer.” Today, thanks in large part to Dahl’s employer, Advance America Cash Advance Centers, the mission is nationwide.

Dahl has worked for the company for 21 years and currently serves as divisional director of operations overseeing the company’s 55-plus Colorado employees. When word got out about Dahl’s cancer battle — and the colorful ways that she was keeping up her positive fighting spirit — a large number of the company’s 4,800 employees armed themselves with markers and joined the fight with her. “At first, employees were purchasing coloring books, but now the company is producing coloring pages, which are available online for any interested employee,” says Dahl. 

Hand-colored powerful sayings can now be found at infusion centers from coast to coast. “We have employees coloring in California and employees coloring in South Carolina,” says Dahl. Patients and their loved ones are encouraged to take home any colored mantra that speaks to them. “Some people have framed a page, and they tell me that they look at it every day for strength and inspiration,” says Dahl, who estimates that she has colored at least 600 pages since starting on her cancer journey.

Anyone interested in joining the Color Out Cancer crusade can send an email to ColorOutCancer2020@gmail.com. “We can send coloring pages or provide information for people to purchase their own books,” says Dahl. “We can also connect people to infusion centers that are interested in receiving the finished pages.”

Sarah Cannon, Ask Sarah, HealthONE, cancer helpline

Sarah Cannon, Ask Sarah, HealthONE, cancer helpline

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