Breast cancer survivor helps patients with virtual art therapy

Julia Kirtley, also known as Kito, has been painting for most of her life. Back in December 2021, her life changed forever when she learned of her breast cancer diagnosis.

News 12 Staff

Oct 17, 2022, 9:57 PM

Updated 639 days ago

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A Brooklyn artist and breast cancer survivor is using her talents to help fellow people battling the illness.  
Julia Kirtley, also known as Kito, has been painting for most of her life. Back in December 2021, her life changed forever when she learned of her breast cancer diagnosis.  
She spent the next three months going through constant treatments and turned back to her love of art to ease her stress.  
“Every time I had an appointment, I had tools to create. Just different things to kind of occupy my mind with positive thoughts and creating things,” said Kito. “I just used it as a tool the whole way through.” 
Once she began using art as a means to help her mental health, she began offering a series of virtual art therapy classes to other breast cancer patients at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where she was treated.  
“I saw all these people coming in… and I thought, ‘Wow, I wouldn’t want to just be sitting there thinking about what’s about to happen to me,'” said Kito. “I definitely wanted to bring it to people who were going through what I was going through.” 
Kito hopes to be an inspiration to other patients on their own cancer journeys.  


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