Ottawa radiation therapist using art to help children with brain tumours

<p> An Ottawa radiation therapist is using her artistic skill to help ease the suffering of children with cancer.</p> <p> Gerry Ash spends hours of her own time turning a form-fitting radiation mask into a treasure for young people with brain tumours.</p> <p> During treatment, the mask allows radiation to penetrate the exact part of the brain where cancer has been growing. Ash paints the masks and personalizes them for each patient.</p> <p> &quot;I think it can make a huge difference,&quot; Ash told CTV Ottawa.</p> <p> She spent 13 hours on her latest creation for nine-year-old Nicky Caldwell, who just finished his final treatment.</p> <p> &quot;I had headaches, throwing up. I didn't feel too good before I knew this was happening to me,&quot; he said. “You lay down, get it done. That’s all there is to it.”</p> <p> Nicky’s mask reflects his love of sport and the Montreal Canadiens.</p> <p> &quot;I thought it was going to be just logos,” Caldwell added. “She surprised me with portraits, I'm really happy about that.&quot;</p> <p> Ash dabbled in art before becoming a radiation therapist at a cancer treatment centre for adults. Her handiwork with masks allows her to combine the two.</p> <p> &quot;I can't just throw the paint brushes away and say ‘sorry kids, this takes 15 hours of my weekend’, I can’t,” she said. “Pediatric kids, they shouldn't be here.&quot;</p> <p> With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Terry Marcotte</p> <p> This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Gerry Ash's name and her job title</p>