Paintings, funds donated to aid Olympic Medical Center’s Cancer Center in Sequim
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Larry St. Peter, Olympic Medical Cancer Center Director Ken Berkes and infusion nurse Lynn Fosket show off some of the paintings made by St. Peterís late wife, Gail, who died of cancer June 2013. ó Joe Smillie/Peninsula Daily News

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– Watercolor painting was what brought Gail St. Peter to Sequim, and it’s also one of the things she loved doing most while going through treatment for the leukemia from which she eventually died.

Now, paintings she made of the rocks and flowers in her yard will be used to help make treatments a little more pleasant for other patients in the infusion bays at Olympic Medical Center’s Cancer Center.

“Gail passed away on June 18 of last year, but not before creating many of the incredible pieces of art that patients and their families will be able to view and enjoy,” said Bruce Skinner, director of the Olympic Medical Center Foundation.

Her husband of 37 years, Larry St. Peter, donated the paintings, as well as $50,000 to improve the infusion bays in which patients receive treatment.

“She fell in love with the area and with watercoloring and all the arts that are here, so she moved,” Larry St. Peter said. “And I followed.”

Gail St. Peter was a founder of the North Olympic Watercolorists, which still uses her Straitside Studio for its weekly meetings.

Larry St. Peter’s donation was part of $150,000 donated through the foundation to make improvements, Skinner said.

Much of that funded the acquisition of special wheelchairs that can comfortably seat patients during the long process of checking in and receiving treatment.

“They’re the best wheelchairs we’ve got,” said Lynn Fosket, registered transfusion nurse.

Berkes said the chairs are helpful in getting patients dealing with decreased strength into the treatment rooms.

“Our patients, a lot of them can make it from the car to the lobby for check-in. But then, after they sit for a while, it makes it tougher to get back into treatment,” Berkes said.

Skinner said $59,305 was dedicated to improve the cancer center’s integrative medicine program, which focuses on therapies that are in addition to conventional medicine.

Since 2006, the foundation has contributed $1,028,850 for cancer programs, Skinner said, and more than $2.2 million to the hospital.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 05. 2014 6:52PM
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