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Joliet patient donates artwork from John Lennon Peace Wall

Hopes to inspire others at Cancer Center

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 9:51 a.m. CST
Staff from the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital pose with spinal cancer patient and Joliet resident Jim McCollum, who donated a photograph he took of the John Lennon Peace Wall in the city of Prague in the Czech Republic. The graffiti artwork includes the famous song lyric “I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends,” sung by former Beatles band member John Lennon. Pictured from left to right are Kathleen Meyer, RN; Jill Wojciechowski, PSR; Eugenia Rakhno, Physicist; Deb Treadway, Receptionist; Anne McCall, MD. Radiation Oncologist; Chris Stepaniak, Physicist; patient Jim McCollum; Melissa Wilson, Radiation Therapist; Dan Golden, MD. Radiation Oncologist; Kim De Nardo, Lead Radiation Therapist; Joanne Harrison, Radiation Therapist; Eric Miller, Radiation Therapist; Nicki Fender, RN; and Roshelle Neal, Medical Assistant.

NEW LENOX, Ill. — After being diagnosed with cancer involving his spine in April of this year and undergoing five weeks of radiation treatments at the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital, Jim McCollum  wanted to express his gratitude to his physicians and the entire care team that supported him.

“I was treated so wonderfully by my physicians, Dr. McCall and Dr. Narula, and all the staff that I wanted to honor them through my artwork donation,” said Joliet resident Jim McCollum. “When you have cancer, some people treat you coldly, but everyone at the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital was always so warm to me and willing to accommodate my schedule to fit in my radiation treatments.

“I was so moved by their support that I felt it was only fitting to have the artwork’s words ‘I get by with a little help from my friends’ displayed at the Center to inspire other cancer patients as they find courage to deal with their illness.”

“We are so touched by Jim’s donation of such an optimistic piece of art that will offer notable encouragement to our patients, their families and our staff for years to come,” said Anne McCall, M.D., Medical Director for Radiation Oncology for the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital.

McCollum and his wife, Karen, shared a passion for travel and photography for over 30 years. In 2005, they combined that passion to create McCollum Photography. Jim is self-taught and has been taking pictures for over 50 years. Karen graduated from the College of DuPage in 2005 with a Certificate of Photography Technology.

Specializing in fine art photography, they travel the world taking photographs that capture the subtle nuances of the towns that they visit. Their current body of work is a photo documentary of the John Lennon Peace Wall in Prague that spans a period of nine years. In addition, they operate 15 to 20 art shows a year and are co-op gallery members for Gallery 7, which is a fine art gallery located in the heart of downtown Joliet (next to the historic Rialto Theater) and features the work of nine local artists. For more information visit,

About the Lennon Wall

The John Lennon Peace Wall or Lennon Wall, is a wall in the city of Prague, in the Czech Republic. Once a normal wall, but in the 1980s, after John Lennon’s murder, young Czechs set up a memorial to John Lennon by writing John Lennon-inspired graffiti and lyrics from Beatles songs to demonstrate against the ban of western pop songs by Communist authorities, specifically John Lennon songs as he was a pacifist and spoke up for freedom. The wall quickly developed into a forum for grievances against the Communist state, and although the authorities tried to paint over the graffiti, new graffiti would appear soon after. By the end of 1989, the communist regime ended, which gave way to the Velvet Revolution.

Even though the goal of freedom was met, the Lennon Wall continues to stand as a monument for the ideals of peace and love.  Though most importantly, it is a reminder of how powerful the human voice can be.  The wall is owned by the Knights of Malta, who allowed the graffiti to continue on the wall. More than 20 years has passed, but people from all over the world still visit the Lennon Wall to leave their mark by doing something as simple as signing their name or creating an amazing work of art.

Layer upon layer of paint brings together thousands of voices and makes the wall an incredible symbol of hope.

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