After being diagnosed with metastatic bladder cancer in 2011, Frank Di Bella was initially given three to four months to live, until he received a second opinion from Sumanta K. Pal, M.D., at City of Hope.
Ten years later, he credits his second chance at life to Dr. Pal and the staff at City of Hope. In fact, Di Bella has since raised more than $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 halting all in person events, Di Bella looked for creative ways to support City of Hope. Throughout the global pandemic, City of Hope Newport Beach, the first phase of Orange County’s regional cancer care network, continued to be a second home for many patients but Di Bella felt the location was missing one piece to make it feel more like home: art.
Di Bella reached out to his longtime friend Leonardo Cruz, a contemporary abstract artist and Orange County resident of more than 25 years, with an opportunity to lend his talent and artistic gift to the building. Cruz created five dynamic 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 around without a brush. Both present a challenge for control.
Di Bella and Cruz shared a vision to give patients coping with a cancer diagnosis and treatment the same hope they were given, a hope for a second chance at not only surviving but living.
Cruz hopes that his art allows patients to feel a sense of comfort, brings a moment of stillness during the chaos and inspires patients to remain hopeful.
Visit the City of Hope website at https://www.cityofhope.org/orange-county/locations/newport-beach.