Thumb print celebrates cancer patients’ final day of treatment

Blacktown Hospital patient Maryam Shahrestani leaves her mark as she completed her cancer treatment.

It was a special moment when breast cancer survivor Maryam Shahrestani painted her thumb green and pressed it to the wall in Blacktown Hospital.

Each thumb print forms a new leaf on a beautiful, evolving artwork created by patients on the day they complete their treatment.

The visual concept was inspired by the hospital staff and patients of the Cancer and Haematology Centre at Blacktown Hospital.

Maryam made the latest addition to the wall when she completed her last day of cancer treatment this week, having been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer after a routine mammogram in June last year.

“It was a huge surprise when they told me I had cancer –  I just cried,” Maryam said.

“I lost my sister a few years ago to breast cancer so it brought back some sad memories.

“I encourage everyone including my friends, family and colleagues that it’s very important to have regular check-ups with your GP and mammograms.”

Maryam Shahrestani with Blacktown Hospital radiation therapist Madelyn Wuth.

Blacktown Hospital deputy director of radiation therapy Kim Gilarte said more than 50 finger or thumbs prints currently line the corridor.

“The prints are added each time a patient completes their treatment in the infusion services or radiation therapy department,” Kim said.

“A former cancer patient painted the tree in 2016 and has been painting them for us ever since.

“The staff love the trees because it’s great for the patients to leave their mark in the department and to signify the patient has completed that part of their journey.

“We treat patients from the age of 16 up to 90 years, so the trees also act as a visual reminder of the number of patients we have helped finish their treatments.”