Cancer sufferer finds therapy in form of art

PROUD friends and family gathered at Hampstead Hospice to launch a book by cancer sufferer Dawne Solomons

Josie Hinton

PROUD friends and family gathered at Hampstead Hospice to launch a book by cancer sufferer Dawne Solomons.

The 60-year-old was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003 and says she was helped through her illness by art therapy.

Her book contains a collection of art therapy images accompanied by excerpts from her journal at the time.

She said: "I had the idea for the book when I looked back over my pieces and realised they correlated with the diary I was keeping at the time.

"I wanted to raise money for the hospice and raise the profile of my therapist's work."

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Ms Solomons has been receiving art therapy for three years through the Lyndhurst Road hospice's Day Therapy Unit (DTU) and was introduced to therapist Michele Wood by her daughter Laura, 37. She was studying for a fine art degree at the time she became ill and while patients do not need to have artistic skills Laura felt she would gain physical and emotional relief through art.

Ms Solomons said: "When Laura suggested art therapy I thought, 'what is it?' I had no idea what it was. I mean no-one does, do they?"

Mrs Wood delivered a proud speech at the launch praising Mrs Solomon's determination and courage.

She said: "Anyone who knows Dawne knows she gets things done. Her capacity to follow an idea and get something done is admirable.

"In this book Dawne is taking a risk in revealing a vulnerable side of herself. She is encouraging us to all to live fully and reminds us that the smallest of efforts can have the greatest results."

Dawne Solomons: An Art Therapy Journey was produced with the help of graphic designer Adam Levene. Just 100 copies of the limited edition book were available for sale at the launch and Mrs Solomons was on hand to sign them. And she is currently working to turn it into a PDF document that can be downloaded from anywhere in the world. She hopes that by sharing her journey she will bring similar benefits to other sufferers of terminal illness and raise vital cash for the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity, which runs the hospice.