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NoVA Cancer Survivor Turns Art Therapy Into Business


Vicky Arczynski took up crafting when she battled cancer as a kid. Now she’s turned it into a business that supports charities.

By Emily Leayman, Patch Staff | | Updated


FALLS CHURCH, VA—Vicky Arczynski was just six when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common type of childhood cancer. Faced with a difficult situation for anyone let alone a young child, she took to art therapy to cope with cancer treatment. From ages 6 to 8 she began crafting with Margie, her art therapist at the oncologist’s office.

Twelve years later the Falls Church resident is cancer free, but her passion for crafting and helping others like her hasn’t wavered.

In fact, Arczynski made a business out of creating and selling hand-dyed T-shirts. Since she launched Just VICKY Thingz in February, she has sold shirts to people in over 22 states and partnered with a number of charities to donate a portion of proceeds.

“Crafting helped me deal with situations that are unpleasant for a 6-year-old,” said Arczynski. “What once served as a distraction from my illness has now created a business.”

The idea originated in 2017 when Arczynski attended Virginia Tech. After getting compliments on an acid dyed shirt she bought from a thrift store, she decided to make her own.

Arczynski began dying shirts out of her college apartment and sold 200 within weeks. This past April, she donated $5 for every shirt sold to the Virginia Tech Relay for Life benefiting the American Cancer Society. Since then Arczynski has graduated and moved to Falls Church to grow her business.

She recently ran a giveaway for VT Dance Marathon, a student group raising money for pediatric cancer patients in Roanoke. Other past fundraising efforts included Maryland’s Relay for Life, Sigma Kappa’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and Casey Shulman’s Shine On Swim-a-thon.

Her next step for growing Just VICKY Thingz is raising money for a new heat press. The campaign will donate 10 percent of funds to her pediatric oncologist office, Pediatric Specialists of Virginia in Falls Church. Contributors can receive a Just VICKY Thingz item when donating.

Arczynski knows she’s not just in the business of selling shirts but of inspiring others to overcome hardships. She sums up her business and story of survival in the same way: grow through what you go through.”

For more information, visit justvickythingz.com.

Image courtesy Vicky Arczynski

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