DENVER (CBS4)– A retired hospital architect will be honored this month by The Limb Preservation Foundation. Twenty-four years ago, Rob Davidson nearly lost an arm to a rare cancer.

(credit: CBS)

He found a new way of looking at life. Painting has become Rob’s passion.

“It’s been really calming for me,” Rob told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

His watercolors are the way he lives.

“A lot of my passions, outdoor sports like fly fishing, and skiing, and so forth … golf, are in my paintings,” he said.

Rob first picked up a paint brush in 1998, 18 months after he had a brush with death.

“I was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma and at the time there was less than 250 cases a year in the U S,” he explained.

A tumor under Rob’s right arm was a limb threatening, life threatening form of cancer. He endured seven months of harsh treatment.

(credit: CBS)

“Three rounds of chemo, 30 days of radiation, surgery, then 3 more rounds of chemo,” he said.

Doctors saved his arm. The cancer changed his life.

“It helped me with the work/life balance,” Rob said.

Rob was a successful architect at the time. At least 15 hospitals in Colorado include his designs.

As he spent more time in cancer treatment, his work became more patient-centered. He even gave the radiation vaults at St. Joseph Hospital celestial ceilings.

(credit: Treanor HL)

“I looked at really trying to create healing environments, so things like positive distractions, art, sculpture,” he said.

In 2014, the architect became artist full time. He supports The Limb Preservation Foundation and will be honored at their August 31 golf tournament.

With his art, Rob has reinvented himself. With his involvement, he shows appreciation.

“Just very blessed to be here, 24 years later,” said Rob.

LINKS: Limb Preservation Foundation | Limb Preservation Foundation 20th Annual Golf Classic