ROYAL OAK, Mich. - At only 7 years old, Maggie Lee from Madison Heights has fought a big battle against brain cancer, spending much of her time over the last year and a half at Beaumont Hospital.
Despite the surgery to remove the tumor, chemo, radiation, and painful treatment, there was always one thing that made her smile: her art.
"She wouldn't talk to anybody, but when Erin came in, the two of them just talked non stop right," said Kelley Lee, her mom.
Erin Shahly is an art therapist who helps people of all ages overcome their struggles through the expression of art.
"Creating art is self-expression, I think it's empowering. You have a product at the end showing this is my journey. I was here. This is what I went through," said Shahly.
With her guidance, Maggie began to create and communicate through her art. One day, she was given the task of drawing what she would look like if she was a superhero.
She came up with a dashing drawing.
"A super girl and her super cat," said Maggie.
Drawings done by Maggie, and other patients at Beaumont Hospital are being transformed into greeting cards and mugs to be sold by the New Order Coffee roasters in Royal Oak.
All the proceeds will benefit the hospital's art therapy program. For Shahly, it's more than putting color on paper. It's about the psychology of the art-making process.
"It does so many things, connects neurons in the brain, fine motor skills, increases cognitive development. There's so many benefits and when you are feeling good that way you are more susceptible to the treatment," said Shahly.
It's working for Maggie. She completed another piece depicting a mythical animal.
"That's a unicorn lion, I have a lion that looks like that - a stuffed animal," said Maggie, pointing at another one of her drawings.
Maggie's treatment and her cancer are over. But her mother is grateful for the art program that helped her stay positive through it all.
"It really made a huge difference, just to the point where even at the end of our stays, Maggie wouldn't want to go home because she wouldn't get to do art therapy," said Kelley.
The official launch of New Order Coffee's initiative kicks off Thursday, March 5.