Tampa Artist Finds Inspiration from His Cancer Diagnosis

August 19, 2014

TAMPA, Fla. Ray Paul was 48 years old when he first noticed a lump on his side. He ignored the problem because he did not have insurance but after the mass began to grow rapidly, he went to a walk-in clinic and was told he had a benign tumor.

Paul had lingering doubts and a friend referred him to Moffitt Cancer Center, where he was diagnosed with sarcoma, a soft tissue cancer.  After undergoing radiation, chemotherapy, several aggressive surgeries and treatment on a clinical trial, the artist was given the all clear. 

Throughout his treatment Paul was committed to maintaining a positive outlook and being open about his experience. Paul, like many patients found solace in the arts. One way he educated his friends and family about his cancer journey was through his own paintings.

“During this life-consuming ordeal I placed my complete faith and trust in my team at Moffitt, and in my physical and spiritual ability to heal. I envision my art to be a prescient, visual manifestation of the battle raging within and a powerful testament to the beauty of hope,” said Paul.

Paul started a collaborative art endeavor called “My Sarcoma.” Through it, he combines his passion for painting with photographic images of his tumor cells. Moffitt’s Arts In Medicine Program is currently showing Paul’s artwork, including six of his pieces that feature his cancer cells in their Healing Arts Gallery. The collection was curated by Peter Foe from the USF Contemporary Art Museum.

Shortly after his work was displayed in the halls of Moffitt, Paul returned himself, as a patient. His sarcoma had returned, this time in his lungs.

“Myxofibrosarcoma is so aggressive and unpredictable. My artwork, family, friends, and especially my team at Moffitt, have allowed me to maintain my positivity and confidence in an ultimate recovery, even while knowing the cancer can return at any time” said Paul.

Paul is once again cancer-free. To celebrate his health and “My Sarcoma” exhibit, Moffitt’s Arts In Medicine Program will host a reception for the artist on September 10 between 1 and 2 p.m.

About Moffitt Cancer Center
Located in Tampa, Moffitt is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, its contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt is the top-ranked cancer hospital in the Southeast and has been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of their “Best Hospitals” for cancer since 1999. With more than 4,500 employees, Moffitt has an economic impact on the state of nearly $1.6 billion. For more information, visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the Moffitt momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.