November 30, 2020

Webster alum participates in 42 Doors of Hope project for cancer awareness

A doorway painted by Webster alumni Byron Rogers sits outside the Visual Arts Studio. The door is one of 42 which aims to raise awareness for the American Cancer Society’s new Hope Lodge.

A door usually leads to your home, but St. Louis artists have created doors that lead you to hope.

The American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge partnered with local artists to create the 42 Doors of Hope project. Forty-two artists each painted a door representing hope, a journey or inspiration for cancer patients and their families. Webster alumni and Kirkwood High School art teacher Byron Rogers was one of the artists who participated in the project. 

Rogers’ door, titled “Release,” stands outside of the Visual Arts Studio entrance on Webster’s campus. For Rogers, the location was a serendipitous “luck of the draw;” this was the very place he started his art career over 25 years ago. 

“Release” portrays a woman looking toward the heavens to an angel figure who Rogers’ said represents freedom, healing and replenishing. 

“The piece is all about the resilience of going through the pressure of something so horrific but at the same time, being the survivor,” Rogers said. “Even though you’re going through it, there will be flowers, there will be a brighter day, and you will overcome it. That represents my mom wholeheartedly because she survived breast cancer, and she’s still living today at 82.” 

Byron Roger’s door for the 42 Doors of Hope project, titled “Release,” stands in front of the Webster Visual Art Studios. The door represents hope and perseverance in the face of cancer. Photo by Cas Waigand.

Rogers felt called to do this project in order to honor his mother and spread awareness about the Hope Lodge. 

The St. Louis Hope Lodge houses cancer patients and their caregiver who need to stay in St. Louis for treatment. There are over 30 Hope Lodge locations in the United States.

“A lot of folks say that if it wasn’t for Hope Lodge, they wouldn’t be able to have their treatment,” Hope Lodge communication director Christine Winter said. “To me, that’s a life-saving program.” 

The Hope Lodge launched 42 Doors of Hope in an effort to raise awareness about the Lodge and fund new renovations at the facility. 

Each of the 42 doors created represents one of the new guest suites being renovated at the Hope Lodge. The doors are scattered around St. Louis open for public viewing. The public also voted for their favorite door. The winning door is “Wings of Empowerment” by Carolyn Lewis.

The project turned out to be a positive source of hope for both St. Louisans and guests at the Lodge, according to Winter. 

“I have worked for the American Cancer Society for 20 years and this is the most inspiring project I’ve worked on,” Winter said.

Both Winter and Rogers urge the St. Louis community to donate to the Hope Lodge or help their cause. 

“One thing I tell my students: Always give back,” Rogers said. “Sometimes it’s not a monetary thing, sometimes giving your time and your talent can go a long way.”

The doors will remain up until Nov. 30. You can find a map of the door locations, view them online or donate to the Hope Lodge at 42doorsofhope.org. 

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