Yolo Hospice plans an evening art reception on Thursday, April 18, featuring new work by Cathy Speck of Davis. It will run from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the organization’s offices at 1909 Galileo Court, Suite C, in South Davis.
“This is an all-ages event that celebrates life,” Speck says. “Come out, come out, and bring your friends and family.”
Speck has named the exhibit “PerSpectives: Living in Loving Color.” Framed works of her “Phonetos” (pronounced phone-toes) art and greeting cards will be sold, with 10 percent of the proceeds benefiting Yolo Hospice and Citizens Who Care.
Duval Speck, the pop-folk music duo of Speck and Linda Duval, will entertain beginning at 6:30 p.m. Light refreshments and wine will be available.
Speck is well-known in Davis for her joyful spirit and positive approach to life. She has Lou Gehrig’s Disease and advanced cancer, and her mobility is limited. At present, she is enrolled in Yolo Hospice’s palliative care program, called YoloCare, for people living with serious illness.
A YoloCare nurse and social worker visit with her once a month – or whenever she needs them – to ensure that she’s comfortable and maintaining quality of life. She says she deeply appreciates the assistance with pain management and other issues.
“And I love hanging out with folks who totally understand my situation since I don’t need to worry about them getting too sad or worried,” Speck says. “Some of my friends can feel kind of overwhelmed by my honesty.”
In a recent interview, she offered an update on her life today, and her spirit shines through.
“Every morning when I wake up in my hospital bed with my oxygen mask covering my face, I decide how I want to feel – emotionally – for the rest of the day, and I choose to be happy and grateful,” she says. “And the way I do that is to help other people smile. That’s what brings me joy, and it’s so simple.”
She is looking forward to the art show as a chance to interact with community members.
“The cancer has spread, and the ALS has really decreased my stamina and resilience,” she says. “Even though this has slowed me down, it makes my moments of activity and engagement even more colorful and celebratory. I love to entertain, to share my appreciation and receive the loving support of this community.”
Speck discovered her passion for photography while hospitalized after major surgery related to her cancer.
“When I was finally able to get out of bed, I looked out the window and suddenly saw things differently,” she says. “My perspective changed into ‘PerSPECKtive,’ and I decided to share my observations.”
She began taking photos with her phone. Without formal training, she found her prints too dark to suit her, so she began doctoring them with crayons, markers, White-Out – whatever she could find – and an art form was born.
Speck says her photos have an atypical angle as she usually shoots them from her recumbent bicycle or while sitting on her walker. Most are shot in Davis.
“The scenes are often overlooked by folks who are ‘going somewhere’ rather than just ‘being,’” Speck says. “There is so much to be seen, savored and appreciated when we’re not in a hurry. Even though my mobility is compromised, my appreciation of the beauty is even greater since I’m thrilled to be alive and not stuck indoors. I think my Phonetos evoke my gratitude, and people can feel that when they absorb my displays.”
Speck concludes the interview with an overview statement about her life today.
“I’m at peace with the living and dying process and am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life,” she continues. “Every semester for the last several years, I tell my story at Sac City College to two classes of The Psychology of Death and Dying, and it’s a reminder how grateful I am for everything I am still able to do.”