After being diagnosed with metastatic bladder cancer in 2011, Frank Di Bella initially had three to four months to live, until he received a second opinion from Sumanta K. Pal, MD, in City of Hope.
Ten years later, he attributes his second chance at life to Dr. Pal and the staff of City of Hope. In fact, Di Bella has since raised over $ 7 million for the cancer center through a committee he formed that hosts an annual gala called “Let’s Be Frank about Cancer.”
But with the pandemic bringing all events to an end in person, Di Bella has sought creative ways to support City of Hope. Throughout the global pandemic, City of Hope Newport Beach, the first phase of the Orange County Regional Cancer Care Network, continued to be a second home for many patients, but Di Bella felt that the place lacked a room to make it feel more like home: art.
Di Bella reached out to his longtime friend Leonardo Cruz, a contemporary abstract artist and resident of Orange County for over 25 years, with the opportunity to lend his talent and artistic flair to the building. Cruz created five vibrant drip paintings that embodied peace and hope through his technique and color palette, and donated the pieces to City of Hope Newport Beach.
Cruz, whose mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, believes that a cancer journey resembles this style of art, where paint is moved without a brush. Both present a challenge for control.
Di Bella and Cruz shared the vision of giving patients facing cancer diagnosis and treatment the same hope they were given, the hope of a second chance not only to survive, but also to live.
Cruz hopes his art allows patients to feel a sense of comfort, brings a moment of stillness during chaos, and inspires patients to remain hopeful.
Visit the City of Hope website at https://www.cityofhope.org/orange-county/locations/newport-beach.