Kilmer Uplifitng Others Through Art
- Actor and throat cancer survivor Val Kilmer recently shared he is starting an artistic camp, inspired by surviving cancer.
- Kilmer was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014; he had a tracheotomy and also underwent chemotherapy to treat his disease.
- Many people coping with cancer, including actors such as Kilmer, find that art has a therapeutic effect.
Kilmer took to Twitter to explain this pursuit in a vulnerable, powerful thread. He writes, first introducing himself, “My name is Val Kilmer. I’m an artist. I’ve lived a magical life. For more than half a century, I have been honing my art, no matter the medium. Be it literature, movies, poetry, painting, music, or tracking exotic and beautiful wildlife in the most remote African bush…”
My name is Val Kilmer. I'm an artist. I've lived a magical life. For more than half a century, I have been honing my art, no matter the medium. Be it literature, movies, poetry, painting, music, or tracking exotic and beautiful wildlife in the most remote African bush,Read More— Kamp Kilmer (@KampKilmer) March 1, 2022
Kilmer continues, speaking about his cancer, “to capture ephemeral moments with a camera, I yearn to express my creative spirit. Six years ago, I was diagnosed with throat cancer, and after much prayer, medical science, and the love of my family and community, I beat cancer…”
Kilmer shares how the radiation and chemotherapy led to damage to his voice and throat.
“It isn’t easy to talk and be understood. I am improving all the time, but am not able to be out in the world the same way I had become accustomed…,” he says. “I wanted to share this with others, and I started looking for a place to do so. I found a large studio in Hollywood. A fun sacred space where artists, musicians, muses, collectors, and friends could gather to celebrate creativity…”
Kilmer says the pandemic negatively impacted his plans for an artistic community, but he will prevail. “I had dreamed of such a place since living in the wilderness in New Mexico and then the unthinkable, a global pandemic that pushed us all into our homes. You can’t snuff out destiny. The story is far from over…….Enter KAMP KILMER,” Kilmer writes.
He explains, “KAMP KILMER is a destination where creative beings gather to express themselves in exciting and innovative ways while contributing to the evolution of the arts through technology and connectivity.”
The Top Gun actor invites others to join his community via Discord. Many people are sharing their enthusiasm online. One Twitter user writes, “I am super thrilled for this!!! We met you at the Pasadena Playhouse when you did Twain and I worked with you on your Twain and Eddy script in Boston. Can’t wait to join Kamp Kilmer – count me in!!!”
I am super thrilled for this!!! We met you at the Pasadena Playhouse when you did Twain and I worked with you on your Twain and Eddy script in Boston. Can’t wait to join Kamp Kilmer – count me in!!! 🚀🚀🚀3️⃣2️⃣1️⃣🎨🎨🎨 pic.twitter.com/eVaInTDbbS
— It's About Good (@itsaboutgood) March 1, 2022
We love to see people, like Kilmer, using their cancer as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of others.
Kilmer’s Cancer Battle
The Kamp Kilmer creator was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014 and went public with his illness in 2017. Kilmer had a tracheotomy, and he also underwent chemotherapy to treat his disease.
The two main causes of throat cancer are smoking and excessive drinking, but throat cancer can also be caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Dr. Ted Teknos, president and scientific director of the Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, says in a previous interview, “When I first started training and practicing head and neck surgery, we saw this group of patients that were becoming increasingly more frequent, who were those patients who never smoked, were not drinkers, and were developing head and neck cancer. And in the beginning part of my career in the early ’90s and mid-90s, those were rare patients, but then, year by year, those numbers increased dramatically.”
“What we know now, through science, is going back and looking, decade by decade, the rates of HPV-related head and neck cancer have increased exponentially,” says Dr. Teknos. “If you look at the percentage of patients who developed throat cancer, really, cancer of the tonsils and the base of the tongue, in the ’80s compared to the 2010s, if you will, the rate of HPV-related head and neck cancers has gone up by 300%. So there is no myth. HPV causes throat cancer, and it’s a sexually transmitted disease. And it’s something that is an epidemic in the United States.”
HPV and Cancer Risk The Basics
Kamp Kilmer & Art Through Cancer
Kilmer writes on Twitter how, as a result of the damage to his voice, he found much solace in art. He says, “When one thing is taken, though, another is given. With little voice, my creative juices were boiling over and pouring out of me. I started creating again, painting, writing anything I could. I felt the art healing me…”
As a seasoned actor, Kilmer knows the healing power of art intimately. Alongside treatment – or after beating cancer – some people may turn to various artistic outlets (i.e. singing, dancing, painting, crafting) to help them cope with their cancer journey.
Some people also use art to handle feelings of grief after suffering a cancer-related loss. Whenever and however you turn to art, its healing benefits – in terms of mental health – are well-documented and substantiated. In fact, Very Well Mind reports that a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association says that less than an hour of creative activity can reduce stress and have a positive effect on your mental health. And that’s true regardless of artistic experience or talent, the author notes.