The Art of Supporting Cancer Patients – Episode 161

The Art of Supporting Cancer Patients

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Featuring: Ann Hill

Published: April 27, 2019

Rev. Percy McCray sits down with Ann Hill, a volunteer at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to talk about her work supporting cancer patients and how her unique approach to ministry is inspired from the joy of teaching others and her own experience battling cancer.

Show Notes:

Ann Hill loves to spend her time at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. A teacher by trade, she has hosted art classes and helped to coordinate the annual craft show for patients for five years. For her, it’s the ultimate joy. “When I come here, no matter what my mood, I walk in the front door, and someone hugs my neck. Someone says, ‘I’m glad you’re here.’ And sometimes at the end of our sessions, someone will say something that is so cherished. They will say, ‘This was the best part of my day.’”

Growing up in a creative family, Hill knows how to inspire that side in the patients she works with—even those who believe they don’t possess it. “One lady came, did a project, told me the whole time she was there, ‘I have no art talent, no art talent.’ She left, took her project with her, came back in about 30 minutes, and I said, ‘You want to do this again?’ And she said, ‘No, I was just riding up and down on the elevators, showing off my art. I had a captive audience.’”

Hill’s calling to CTCA is rooted in her own experience with breast cancer. Volunteerism, to her, is a two-way street, and not one paved with pity. “If you’re going into a volunteer program, especially with oncology, people have said to me, ‘How can you do that?’ when you’re talking to someone that is undergoing treatment. They’re talking about their hope and the challenges that they’re facing and the challenges they have faced. And I’ve cried with some of them, and I’ve laughed with some of them. But they’re not taking from you. They’re giving to you.”


  • “I truly believe that I was supposed to be [at CTCA] because I am able to give more time here. And being out here is more of a gift to me than it is to the students, I assure you.”
  • “One of the things that I’ve learned is through my family association with a cancer patient, she said so many times, ‘Cancer does not define who I am, it is separate from who I am. I don’t want it, and I won’t allow it to dictate my life.’ And that takes strength.”
  • “There are people that are filled with love and kindness and hope, and hope is the big thing. I would never say to anyone, ‘I’m glad that I went through cancer so that I can have empathy for you,’ but I am thankful that I can be a receptive listener. And that’s really what a volunteer does. We listen.”


CLICK HERE to download this week’s resource: “Hospital Visitation Tips

Learn More:
CTCA | Tulsa, OK