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Flourish Magazine: Artwork – Joyful Movement by Gill McQueeney

25 Sep 2023

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As part of each issue of Flourish Magazine, we release weekly digital content alongside our free print magazine, on the Artlift and Yes to Life blogs. This is often content we couldn’t fit into the magazine’s limited pages, or film and music, but loved and wanted to show the world.  

This issue of Flourish Magazine was on the theme of ‘Movement’, with submissions from those living with or beyond cancer received through an open call for creative responses to the theme.  

In this week’s digital content, contributor Gill McQueeney shares her painting Joyful Movement, representing resilience and the joy of movement.

Read the print magazine online for free here, and watch this space for more digital content! 

Content Warning: This piece contains references to surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. If you’re going through treatment and need support, please see the Resources section of our print magazine.

My name is Gill, and I was diagnosed with mouth and neck cancer in February 2016 at the age of 48. This all started as an innocent mouth ulcer, which never went away.  

When I was eventually diagnosed I was left with Stage 2 mouth cancer and Stage 3 neck cancer. I had an 11-hour operation at the Manchester Royal to remove the left part of my tongue and have a reconstruction, and they also removed the dangerous lymph node from my neck.  

After three very long weeks in hospital, I was all patched up and ready for home. Hurray! I started my six-week cycle of radiotherapy and chemo together, which took its toll, but had great results in the end. 

My painting Joyful Motion is of a dancer. She symbolises the movement through the cancer journey and reminds us to look at everything with beauty, but also shows the effort and determination it can take to get through a day. 

When I searched for information and personal accounts about this type of cancer, I found next to nothing, so I decided to create a blog about my thoughts, feelings and experiences, in the hope that it may help someone someday. It is my true account, and it’s not all doom and gloom.  

Read Gill’s blog My Big C here.