Vol. 4 | Fall 2019

humanness. They turn disastrous circumstances into beautiful victories. They face life head on, admitting their fears and vulnerabilities, enabling them to show up in honest engagement with life, no matter what. Resilient and determined, they understand that sometimes the only way out is through. This is a story about a handful of Helena heroes that had a dream, saw a need and worked tirelessly to bring it to life. It’s a tale of healing and redemption. Bravery and service. Value and honor. It’s a story about people helping people who are sick and scared. But, most of all, it’s a story about hope. Nicole Keintz experienced all of the emotions you might expect when she discovered she had a brain tumor: shock, fear, grief, anxiety. A wife and mother of 3, Nicole had to put everything on pause and seek treatment. She underwent brain surgery and a long, arduous recovery process. She faced some of the most difficult circumstances one could imagine, out of the blue, in an otherwise completely healthy body. The surgery was successful and, eventually, with a great support team and a strong spirit, Nicole recovered. During her recovery, she made a beautiful, important discovery. Her love of photography became an essential piece of her healing process, each photo shoot a potent dose of medicine. “It sounds kind of crazy, but when I was out in nature taking photos, I could actually feel my brain healing. I can’t really explain it but I knew it was true.” Nicole remembers the meditative quality of being in nature, with just her camera. She recalls the perspective shift that happened and how focusing on the beauty all around her helped her feel whole again. She didn’t know it then but she was experiencing the healing power of art, and the seeds of what would eventually sprout, grow and blossom into a groundbreaking healing arts program. She didn’t know then how her own personal struggles were shaping her into a leader, teacher and healer. In the meantime, Nicole experienced the tumor’s return and entered another stormy season of surgery and recovery. “I remember being in the waiting room before the intake process of my second surgery and I was so overwhelmed with emotion. I felt scared and alone and, honestly, kind of angry that I needed to go through all of this again. I remember thinking Isn’t

T H E H E A L I N G P OW E R O F Art PHOTOS by KEELY DARAMA WRITING by CLAIRE LARSON B L U E C R O S S B L U E S H I E L D O F MON TA N A 3645 S Alice St, Helena, MT When I think about heroes, I don’t think of tight suits, shiny long capes, fancy gadgets or the ability to escape danger quickly. The heroes I know aren’t flashy or famous. They lack X-ray vision or the ability to fly. The heroes I know are humble in their Pictured: Nicole Keintz with the Holter Art Cart at St. Peter's Health

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