"Art helped me accept my diagnosis and be less afraid of it. It also taught me that art is not just a hobby and there’s more I can do with it."
‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice and everything nice. This month, we’re featuring products inspired by artwork from Hannah, age 27. At age four, she received a diagnosis of Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a condition that can result in tumor development. NF1, characterized by chromosomal dysfunction, usually shows up internally rather than externally. While typically hereditary, neither of Hannah's parents have this genetic issue. Due to NF1, she has significant skin discoloration. Until age 14, she remained at risk for developing tumors. She has an increased risk for spinal tumors if she has children of her own.
Hannah's passion for art lead her to pursue an art degree in college and inspired her to become an art teacher. Throughout her time at MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital, her parents were steadfast in their efforts to alleviate some of the fear and uncertainty that often comes with medical challenges. They encouraged her to engage in the art classes provided by the Children's Art Project. During the often anxious moments of waiting for appointments, Hannah found solace in her art. Her sketchbook became a trusted companion and creative outlet where she could pour her emotions onto paper. Additionally, her mother would occasionally trace Hannah's body on a long sheet of white paper, and together they would color the paper and they would collaborate on artistic activities, fostering a sense of togetherness and empowerment during a challenging time. “Art helped me accept my diagnosis and be less afraid of it. It also taught me that art is not just a hobby and there’s more I can do with it.” Hannah says.
Today, Hannah is an art teacher at a school that takes a holistic approach to education and emphasizes the appreciation of literature, poetry, drama and art. Hannah is also fond of puzzles and is passionate about art history. She even named her dog Matisse in honor of her favorite artist. Despite heart conditions that cause her to live life at a slower pace, Hannah is eager to go back to school to become a counselor. Her passion is to assist and uplift others, and her heart's desire is extend a helping hand to those in need.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Children's Art Project. Each month, we’ll provide updates, promote survivorship, and share uplifting stories about what makes Children’s Art Project special.