Pride of the Pine Belt: "Flowers of Hope" 2012

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - "I had several friends that had to deal with breast cancer, and lost a good friend to breast cancer, and an aunt that had it, and it was just a disease that seemed to all at once be everywhere I looked,"said "Flowers of Hope" Project Coordinator, Dee Tatum.

Almost ten years ago, Tatum discovered a harsh breast cancer statistic.

"There are a lot of people out there, one in eight women, sometime in their life are going to face a diagnosis of breast cancer,"said Tatum.

Tatum decided she needed to do something for the patients facing the illness. Her inspiration came from a book.

"I saw the book called "Flower of Hope", which was a collection of 27 patterns, that a woman had put together in Florida that she was using for breast cancer awareness project,"said Tatum.

The patterns were of flowers, and were auctioned off. Tatum wanted to create a project that would be free for survivors, and also showcase her craft.

"I have a small stain glass studio in Hattiesburg,"said Tatum.

Sticking with the inspiration of flowers, Tatum, and other stain glass artists, made stain glass panels of flowers.

"This was a good topic. This was a good thing to do,"said Tatum.

Tatum just needed to find breast cancer survivors.

"BCAT identifies the patients and gives the panels away,"said Tatum.

Members of BCAT, or Breast Cancer Awareness Team, are  nurses from hospitals, clinics and members of cancer networks and organizations.

"They go through their patient lists and they pick the patients, identify how many numbers, give us numbers and we make the panels,"said Tatum.

Tatum says the artists can't make enough panels for all the survivors in the area. So, each year, selected patients, who are celebrating one year of survival receive a panel.

"We made 30 this year,"said Tatum.

Each year, Tatum says the panels are displayed at the Library of Hattiesburg Petal, Forrest County  to give everyone a chance to see the project. She feels showing these stains to the public spreads a message.

"The panels themselves, they're trying to make a difference in one person's life by saying, people care about you,"said Tatum.

The panels will be on display from October 1, 2012 through October 12 at the library. A reception for the cancer survivors, artists and the public will be held on October 11 at the Library from 5 to 7 p.m.