St Vincent’s patient Karen believed she had no creative talent whatsoever, until a diagnosis of Lupus a life-threatening autoimmune disease, provided her an unlikely opportunity to pursue artistic endeavours.
‘I never used to draw at all. Stick figures were my best effort!’, Kazz explains.
A biopsy in 2007 provided the answer to Kazz’s lethargy and why working a full day was increasingly a struggle. Kazz suffered from crippling fatigue, skin lesions, headaches and fever.
‘My world crumbled around me,’ Kazz says. ‘I couldn’t work and had to wait three years to get the pension. I spiralled into depression.’
Kazz’s days were spent at the pub or stuck at home watching TV and listening to the radio, lonely and bored.
‘Art therapy has been my lifesaver – it’s how I stay positive,’ Kazz shares. ‘It gives me self-confidence and helps me meet people. I could be six feet under otherwise. My mum passed away at 54 and I was heading that way.’
Karen was encouraged to explore the contents of the art cupboard during a hospital visit in 2011. With only paper and crayons available, she soon found she was channelling her addictive personality towards a more positive pursuit.
Karen has come a long way from drawing stick figures to creating stunning hand-made swans out of hundreds of pieces of intricately folded coloured paper.
‘Each swan takes me 100 hours to make. When I can’t sleep, in the early hours, I pick up where I left off and get lost in the craft. When I am in the Cancer Day Centre for my weekly, four hour appointment, time flies by as I concentrate on the piece and the smile on the face of the person I’ve promised it to.’