Tears were flowing after artist Kimberly Rideout revealed her donated mural at Andy’s House, Hospice Muskoka’s palliative care residence in Port Carling, on the evening of July 29.
Rideout decided to do a mural for free to thank the community for its support during her cancer treatment. Touched by the work that happens at Andy’s House, Rideout chose the facility as the recipient for her artwork. After doing murals for nearly three decades, it took Rideout just two days to create the mural, complete with Muskoka scenery, wildlife and Hospice Muskoka’s signature symbol: monarch butterflies. Rideout was thrilled to see the reactions of her family and friends as well as the staff at Hospice Muskoka, and she said it’s an honour to share the gift in her hands with their future clients and families.
“Whether it’s the actual patients themselves or the family members that are there alongside them, if they’re there, that’s a very sad situation,” Rideout said. “If I can bring even just a little bit of happiness in that situation, that’s a blessing. That’s a gift that I don’t take for granted.”
She’s happy to bring some awareness to the wonderful work that happens at Andy’s House, and she’s relieved to find that she can still paint murals despite having no feeling in her fingertips following treatment. Like her other works of art, she didn’t start with a sketch or a drawing; she simply had an idea in her head and got to painting.
“I have a rough idea of what I want to accomplish,” Rideout said. “Then the actual mural itself really just evolves as I’m painting it.”
Rideout tries hard to inspire people and raise awareness for important causes through her work, so she’s hopeful that the community will continue to rally around Andy’s House and support their efforts. She wants to create a “ripple effect of goodness,” and the full impact of the reveal hit her while she was celebrating with family and friends at Turtle Jack’s.
“I literally just broke down in tears in the middle of dinner because it was so overwhelming that I’m here and I’m still able to do this,” Rideout said. “God’s got me here for a reason, I believe that.”
“He and I had a very long chat when I got my diagnosis last summer in the car. I was driving by myself and crying and I said, ‘I promise you, if I get to stay here, I will not ever take that for granted and I will continue to do what I love doing,’ and that’s being able to give my talents away and try and make other people smile, even just a little bit.”
Sarah Hudson, clinical coordinator at Andy’s House, helped Rideout organize the mural project. She also shed some tears after seeing the reveal, which incorporates Hospice Muskoka’s annual butterfly release and the reminder that the loved ones we’ve let go are still here with us.
“I actually cried and then they asked me to tell the story about the butterflies, and I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to find the words,” Hudson said. “It was so moving to actually see the reveal, and I don’t know if it was the anticipated surprise of it all, but it was very beautiful and I was very honoured to have been there.”
The painting is like an extension of the beautiful Muskoka scenery all around Andy’s House, she said, and it’s something that patients, families and staff will be able to enjoy for years to come. Rideout said it was an honour and a blessing to do the mural and the staff at Hospice Muskoka feel the same way about receiving it.
“She is truly a beautiful, beautiful person,” Hudson said. “We’re so honoured that she picked Andy’s House to donate back to and provide us with this beautiful scene.”