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HOW ART THERAPY CAN HELP KIDS (AND ADULTS) WITH SICKLE CELL

August 18, 2014 by Andrea

Photo viaTwitter by Hertz Nazaire

Photo via Twitter by Hertz Nazaire

We all know that therapy can help us overcome anxiety issues, work through tough emotions, and handle major changes in life; but, the couch isn't the only way that kids and adults with sickle cell can express what they go through on a daily basis. The craft table is another.

Yep, we're talking about art therapy.

Several pilot programs have cropped up in hospitals and community centers across the country and have proven to provide a welcome distraction from health issues and pain for its participants. The art also gives these sickle cell warriors a creative way of conveying their emotions about the struggles they go through on a daily basis.

One such program, artSPEAKS, a free workshop specifically developed for kids with SCD, was initially launched by The William E. Proudford Sickle Cell Fund in Baltimore at the University of Maryland's Childrens Hospital. It's gone on to hold workshops in Wilmington, DE at Nemours duPont Hospital for Children and is planning another one at The Stomp Out Sickle Cell Walk on September 20 in Washington, DC. During these engaging sessions, kids may work with paint, clay, and other mediums.

Children aren't the only ones who can benefit from art therapy. In fact, Haiti native and sickle cell warrior and advocate, Hertz Nazaire, uses his talents as a professional artist to channel his pain, frustrations, and struggles into his works. His sickle cell series, pictured above, has been featured in many medical texts, as well as other publications that cover this disease. To give 100 percent to his work, Nazaire lives in a studio just for working artists, called Read's Artspace in Bridgeport, CT. Through his art, he not only finds a way to cope with living with his own SCD, but he's also able to provide a voice for others and help raise awareness. In addition to his sickle cell art, he also enjoys combining Japanese and Haitian cultural elements into his creations.

Follow Hertz Nazaire on Twitter @NazHz and check out his artwork here.

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