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Nineteen handprints ranging from grandkids to grandparents form a circle of hope for Kristina Knapp. The framed artwork designed from colorful construction paper includes the signature of each family member whose handprint is part of the circle.
Knapp’s sister-in-law initiated the artwork, called the “Healing Hands Project.” It was first introduced when Knapp’s father-in-law was diagnosed with melanoma. It later became inspiration for Knapp’s brother-in-law when he battled colon cancer.
“It’s a way of feeling the presence of family members whether they are near or far,” said Knapp, who has been married to Ben Knapp for 10 years. They have two children, Hayden, 15 and Brea, 8.
For three months, Knapp struggled with a constant cough. When her doctor ordered a chest x-ray, a 13-centimeter Mediastinal tumor was discovered. That was December 2016. She completed six months of chemotherapy, followed by 12 weeks of radiation. More spots appeared in different areas and Knapp came to IU Health under the care of Dr. Jose M. Azar. She underwent a stem cell transplant in mid February.
“Because Hodgkin’s lymphoma can live in your lymphatic system this stem cell transplant was a better chance of eradicating the lymphoma,” said Knapp, who works as a certified surgical technician at another hospital.
“I was nervous coming to IU Health since I was an employee at another hospital. I felt at home there. This is a teaching hospital and I didn’t want to be known as just a number. I wanted to be known as a patient,” said Knapp. “I learned early on that Dr. Azar takes as much time as needed to help my husband I understand the process. I couldn’t be any more pleased with the care and love shown to me by the nurses, doctors and staff on the bone marrow transplant floor.”
-- By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health. Reach Banes via email at T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.