As an artist, Morgan Webb mixes paints for a living. Like everyone, she gets burned out with her job at times. And when your job is also what you love to do as a pastime, burnout can steal your leisure pursuits and make it doubly hard to re-energize. But Morgan found a secret. She began mixing something else into her paint – a purpose.
It all started a few years ago when her husband’s aunt was fighting cancer at Memorial Hospital in Savannah. During her time there, she noticed that the walls were blank and asked if she could paint a mural for the kids on the pediatric ICU floor. Since she was willing to donate her efforts, the hospital readily agreed. People appreciated her work so much that she was given a commission to do a second mural on the pediatric oncology floor. It was during that job that her life took a turn.
Children on the floor enjoyed watching her paint. Since they were stuck in the hospital for longer periods of time, she got to know some of them, including a little girl named Cora. Every time she was able, Cora would ask her mother to take her to see the painting, and she struck up a friendship with the artist. Morgan became so enamored with the little girl that she painted her right into the mural. She also began looking for more opportunities to meet the young cancer patients and encourage them.
She painted pictures atop the bald head of a little girl named Cathleen and her mother (who had shaved her head in support) simply because it made them smile. Then she began giving art lessons to a little girl named Ella who was in treatment, and she watched the joy art provided. She has driven to Atlanta for years to paint faces at CURE’s Annual Picnic following Lauren’s Run and even held a painting party for the pediatric oncology nurses to give them some relief from their daily stress.
For Morgan, it always goes back to the joy which surrounds children. Whatever joy she gives them, she gets it back double.
“People are afraid to step in and help because they think it will be sad to be with them,” she said. “But when you do things with them, you see just how inspiring and brave they are. It is heartwarming and always worth it.”
Her childhood cancer community has experienced loss of late, including her friend, Ella. But every single time she feels down, someone sends a message to her or a child says something which encourages her and helps her know that she is right where she is supposed to be. She was recently able to paint another mural at the Oglethorpe Mall and of course, she included some of her friends from the hospital in the mural.
She paints for a living, but she also lives to paint with “her” kids. It is what she can do – her purpose, and Morgan knows that anyone can find their place serving others if they look hard enough.
“People think you have to have a big bank account to do something,” Morgan said. “But you don’t have to give a ton of money to give.”
Thank you, Morgan, for mixing your paint with purpose and painting smiles on the faces of children with cancer.