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Fighting cancer through art

5:54 PM, Apr 4, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local man is helping his wife fight breast cancer through his art.  

"You can tell there was a lot of love that went in to it," said Rikki Southworth.

Looking at the portrait her husband artist Chip Southworth painted of her, she can't help but feel proud. 

"It's definitely a labor of love ... for me, it's no labor. It's just wonderful for me to watch him and watch them evolve," she said.

And they have.

The show has changed drastically since they first planned it in Space Eight in St. Augustine last year.

Rikki was laid off from her job, and then diagnosed with breast cancer.

"Now my body is a little bit different than what he painted, so it's nice to watch it evolve," she said.

And the project turned in to a portrait of that journey.

"It's that solitude that you look for in your healing, or maybe in your falling apart," said artist Chip Southworth.

It's been a long road for the Southerlands.

Without a job, and without health insurance, they've struggled.

"It's just such a tragic story in every way, and so typically American," said Space Eight owner Rob DePiazza, who decided to make the show a benefit, donating 100 percent of the proceeds to Rikki's care.

"To me, I didn't even have to think about it. It immediately became a benefit," he said.

"It's been a real gift, a gift, and an eye opener," said Rikki.

The show opens Friday night and runs through May 31st.

Former First Coast News anchor Donna Deegan's The Donna Foundation is also helping the Southworths.

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