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Volunteer Spotlight: Smadar Knobler

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In addition to being a talented artist specializing in hand-painted silk pieces, Smadar is a two-time breast cancer survivor. For fifteen years Smadar has volunteered her time and talent to teach watercolor classes to cancer survivors and their loved ones at the Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara. The artwork produced by Smadar and her students will be on display at a special Art of Survival exhibit at the ABRA Art Gallery on Saturday, September 20. Learn more here. 

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2013.  I was shocked and devastated. This is not the first time that I found I had breast cancer. Twenty-five years ago I dealt with this horrific monster when I discovered my first lump. I thought I did everything in my power to eradicate it. Eighteen years ago I underwent a stem cell transplant, at that time a highly experimental treatment, because the disease had metastasized to my bones.  Ever since, I’ve been under the care of wonderful doctors, had yearly mammograms, and took hormone blockers. But the cancer persisted and it came back last year.

When I was looking for support twenty years ago, I came across The Wellness Community, now the Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara.  I have been associated with the center ever since. I started participating in group sessions, lectures, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction workshops and many other activities. I started teaching watercolor classes about fifteen years ago.  I wanted to give back to the community that helped me so much when I was going through my treatments. Teaching the watercolor classes has given me so much satisfaction and enjoyment.  I love to see my budding artists enjoy themselves creating something beautiful, and for a few hours a week both they and I can forget our troubles.

Learn more about Smadar’s art at

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