The artist who draws our cancer patients 

21/04/2017 00:00 
The BBC recently featured the work of artist Simon Tolhurst, who makes pencil drawings of patients while they wait.
 

Simon has been portrait artist-in-residence at UCLH for over three years and has built up a body of over 250 drawings of patients, their relatives and friends, and staff within the haematology unit.

For the BBC, patient Lucy Nicholls agreed to sit for Simon, who has been a professional artist for over 20 years, specialising in figurative work from life, with an emphasis on people and portraits.

You can watch the video here.

The portrait artist in residence project is the brainchild of a former patient who now volunteers as project manager for the charity Haematology Cancer Care.

Steve Roper came up with the idea for the project three years ago, as something which could serve as a counterpoint for the lengthy and challenging nature of cancer treatment, and in particular chemotherapy.

"Patient feedback shows that the drawing process can help with stress and anxiety by creating an important opportunity to reflect and talk while doing something enjoyable, with the added benefit of requiring no exertion," says Steve.

The portrait project is one of two artist in residency projects for HCC, the other is a photography project.

The portrait project is also available to friends or family members who are attending day care with patients. All participants receive a signed print of their portrait, sent to them within three weeks free of charge.

Haematology Cancer Care (HCC) funds the artist in residence programme. HCC is one of several small charities which operate under the umbrella of UCLH Charity. HCC brings together haematology patients, families, supporters and staff to raise funds for the service.

It uses the money to improve the experience of haematology patients and their families at UCLH, providing vital medical equipment, additional training for staff and a variety of complementary therapies for patients and families. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter

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