2018 — The Foundation’s Year in Review

2018 has been a year of “firsts” for the StewARTworks Foundation.

Our first official year as a nonprofit began in January with the launch of the Foundation’s website. After many months of building, revising, researching and writing, we produced a clearinghouse where caregivers can find resources and support to best care for themselves, their loved ones and families.

The next months were spent identifying our projects, outside of the website, for 2018. As we got down to work, questions and ideas percolated: How do we identify and reach current caregivers to learn, firsthand, what their needs are and how to provide the support to help meet those needs?

An exploration of those questions led, in September, to a new series of free classes for caregivers, not only providing helpful information but also a forum for discussion on a variety of subjects. In partnership with the Glenview Fire Department, the Foundation offered “Basic First Aid for Caregivers”, featuring non-certified CPR, Heimlich maneuver, first aid tips and 911 call protocol. This was followed in October by “Keeping Caregivers Safe at Home” focusing on body mechanics and home safety. A panel discussion, “The Role of Opioids and Medical Cannabis for Managing Pain in Palliative Care”, ended the series for the year. The expertise of the presenters sparked thoughtful questions and lively discussions.

September also saw the StewARTworks Foundation gallery event, “Fund and Friendraiser”, at the Weinberg/Newton Gallery in Chicago. Twenty-nine of Stewart’s original paintings lined the walls, along with informative posters about the Foundation, caregivers and palliative care. The silent auction featured original works from five guest artists, including Morgan Leavitt; another first, as father and daughter shared exhibition space. Giclee prints of twenty-one of Stewart’s original works were available for purchase. Many attendees took prints of their favorite pieces home with them. The evening was a great success with spirited discussions, art appreciation and good food.

We discovered, in the busy months of November and December, new avenues that gave us the opportunity to explore and learn. The conference in Chicago, sponsored by Caregiving.com, allowed us to meet so many amazing caregivers, both past and present, who willingly shared their moving stories, real world experiences and creative solutions to monumental challenges. They were truly inspiring.

The Midwest Lung Cancer Summit, sponsored by A Breath of Hope Lung Cancer Foundation, took us to Minneapolis, Minnesota. This patient-centered day was jam-packed with information about clinical trials, nutrition, legal advice, advocacy and finding resiliency. This was the first summit for ABOH. It was so well received that it will not be the last. We came away with newfound partners and resources.

Then it was on to San Francisco – virtually! The EndWell symposium presented an over-arching theme focusing on the healthcare community providing patients, caregivers and families with a collaborative form of medical treatment that emphasizes quality of life and wellness rather than focusing on just the delivery of treatment when an illness arises. A truly thought provoking day.

Each interaction, in the classes, at the conference, summit, symposium and gallery event, provided us with new ideas on how to support caregivers and ways to implement and turn what we learned into positive actions for the future.

We are looking forward to an exciting 2019. In addition to more gallery events, some outside of Chicago, we will be partnering with other caregiving and palliative care organizations and expanding the offering of resources through additional classes, panels and salons.

We will also continue to develop the website. A special note on that subject: The Foundation is now able to provide a link to the contents and resources of Pain-Topics.org., written by Stewart B. Leavitt. He had transferred his work to The Pain Community when his illness progressed with the intent to preserve his work in one place. Some of Stewart’s articles are located in the Resources section of The Pain Community’s website. More information is also embedded in the “Recommended Reading” section. Our thanks to The Pain Community. This access to some of Stewart’s work will help to complete his story on the StewARTworks Foundation website.

A very special thank you to everyone who volunteered, donated and provided moral support over the past year. Your help and caring made our projects successful and advanced our mission.

The StewARTworks Foundation is a labor of love and we are always open to your ideas on how we can improve. In 2019 we will continue to build our community with your help. We look forward to having you with us on this journey.                                                                                                                                                 

May you fill this New Year with love and unforgettable memories. We intend to do the same.