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Kelowna exhibition honours late local artist while raising funds for cancer care

Tracy Thring was an artist in every sense of the word.

She was gifted with a paint brush, but also dabbled in glass etching, resin, watercolour, acrylic and more.

Thring was a talented writer as well; she loved to pen screenplays, murder mysteries and even children’s books, which she did the illustrations for herself.

Unfortunately, those children’s books will have to be published posthumously by her eldest daughter, Desiree Taylor, as Thring passed away on May 21, 2023, after a brave battle with cancer.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed</who>Tracy Thring with her daughter Desiree Taylor.

“Her imagination had no limit, and to anyone around her she taught that anything is possible if you put your mind to it,” Taylor says of her late mother.

It has now been over nine months since Thring passed away, but her memory lives on through her work and some of it is currently on display as an exhibition at the Rotary Centre for the Arts in downtown Kelowna.

‘Earth Guardians Reimagined’ features one-of-a-kind pieces from Thring that have graced the walls of the Rotary Centre before, but now they’re back there with a new purpose.

Thring’s work, which will be showcased at the Rotary Centre until April 30, 2024, is for sale, and 25% of the proceeds will be donated to InspireHealth.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed</who>Tracy Thring poses with her work at the Rotary Centre for the Arts on a previous occasion.

InspireHealth is a non-profit organization that has been providing support to British Columbian cancer patients and their family members for more than a quarter-century.

It’s the only place in BC where patients can receive free, comprehensive supportive cancer care services for any type of cancer, at any stage and at any time after diagnosis.

“We focus on a patient’s physical, emotional and spiritual health by providing evidence-informed person-centred care where the patient plays an active role in their care plan,” the non-profit explains of their work.

“Our team of supportive care physicians, clinical counsellors, registered dietitians and exercise therapists promote self-care through knowledge and skills building.”

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed</who>Tracy Thring with her family.

Through her mother’s cancer journey, Taylor saw first-hand the current struggles of the healthcare system, despite the heroic efforts from healthcare workers on the front line.

Thring never had the opportunity to access the services of InspireHealth, although she had planned to, and Taylor says it’s important for others going through similar situations to know this option exists.

“We hope that through this show we can celebrate the memory and talent of Tracy, and bring awareness to this incredible support system for those battling cancer,” she explained.

Taylor has endless ways to describe her beloved mother, including dreamer, innovator, fearless, ambitious, thoughtful and loyal.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed</who>Tracy Thring with her grandchildren at an Opus outdoor art event in 2021. Thring loved to share her creativity and love of art with others and ran many At Home Paint Parties later in her life.

“She had a zest for life and a determination to do what most consider unthinkable,” noted Taylor. “She was a beautiful firecracker and a force to be reckoned with.”

While Taylor knows nothing will bring her mother back, she hopes her family’s experience can help make a difference for others who are in the middle of their own cancer battle.

She encourages a visit the Rotary Centre before the end of April to see her mother’s work. The exhibition also features a canvas with markers for people to sign the names of loved ones who have been affected by cancer.

Taylor also hopes people get out to support InspireHealth’s Rain Walk next weekend. The eighth annual event will be held on Saturday, March 9, beginning at 9:30 am at the Kelowna Innovation Centre.

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