Art imitating life: Cancer center fetes sculptor whose work is now permanently featured

Click photo to enlarge

A sculpture by Jan Martin Bopp sits center-stage at its unveiling party in the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center Wednesday. Bopp, a volunteer and cancer survivor, created the sculpture to symbolize his battle with myeloma. (Derek Carson)

A sculpture by Jan Martin Bopp sits center-stage at its unveiling party in the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center Wednesday. Bopp, a volunteer and cancer survivor, created the sculpture to symbolize his battle with myeloma. (Derek Carson)

BENNINGTON - The Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center honored and celebrated local educator, sculptor, and volunteer Jan Martin Bopp on Wednesday.

Bopp was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells in which collections of abnormal plasma cells accumulate in bone marrow, where they interfere with the production of normal blood cells. Throughout his battle with cancer, he was also challenged with cardiovascular dysfunctions, a stem-cell transplant, chemotherapy, coronary artery stent implants, a carotid endarterectomy, a pacemaker implant, and what one speaker called the worst case of shingles he had ever seen.

Yet Bopp persevered through everything, and eventually decided to create a sculpture to symbolize his battle with myeloma. The result was "My Medical Journey: Trauma to Transcendence," a 17-inch wide, 16-inch tall, and 10-inch deep ceramic sculpture, which is on permanent display in the atrium of the cancer center.

The sculpture, which was completed in 2009, "embodies the story of my journey through extensive medical trauma and treatment to better health and a life coping with chronic illness," said Bopp in a written description that was displayed next to the sculpture. "It is a story of some of my physiological ambushes and health challenges and how I have responded, with much professional help, medicine and procedures, fortitude, and good fortune."

Bopp was born and raised near Lansing, Mich., completed his undergraduate studies at Hope College in Holland, Mich., and worked toward a graduate degree at Miami University of Ohio. In the 1970s he began teaching at Mount Greylock High School in Williamstown, Mass.

"My sculpture is a therapeutic expression of my resilience, positive energy and spirit, and eternal optimism. It has been given to the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center to symbolize my deep gratitude for the profound help of expert health care providers and to inspire others afflicted with cancer," said Bopp.

While 92 people officially RSVP'd to Wednesday's reception, the total number of attendees may very well have been higher. "Certainly tonight's turnout is a reflection of the impact Jan has made on all of us, on our lives," said Thomas Dee, CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care.

Go here to read the rest:
Art imitating life: Cancer center fetes sculptor whose work is now permanently featured

Related Post