Home   News   Article

Discovering her artistic talents helps Bishop's Stortford woman raise money for Anthony Nolan charity



More news, no ads

LEARN MORE


A young Bishop's Stortford woman who suffers from a rare immune disorder has completed a challenge to paint every day for a month to raise money for the Anthony Nolan charity.

Michelle Peppiatt, 30, received a stem cell transplant last year after the organisation, which helps to save the lives of people with blood cancer, found her a matching donor. She is now recovering at home in Wallace Court, Nightingales, off Haymeads Lane, where she has been shielding since before the coronavirus outbreak.

Art has proved a great outlet for Michelle in managing her anxiety, pain, fatigue and isolation, and at the completion of her challenge on Tuesday June 30 she had raised £1,200.

Nightingales, Bishop's Stortford. Michelle Peppiatt has been creating a new painting every day in June. .Pic Vikki Lince. (37537583)
Nightingales, Bishop's Stortford. Michelle Peppiatt has been creating a new painting every day in June. .Pic Vikki Lince. (37537583)

"At the beginning of the month I decided to fundraise for Anthony Nolan, who save the lives of thousands with blood disorders," she said. "I started to wonder how they were getting by during Covid-19, and it suddenly hit me that it could have been me and I might not have had my transplant, so I decided to fundraise by taking art every day for the duration of June.

"Post-transplant I really struggled to find things I was capable of doing due to the effects of the treatment, and just stumbled across art and thought I would give it a go. I fell in love with it – it's been a great outlet for me."

Michelle's condition is known as haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a rare immune disorder where the body reacts inappropriately to a ‘trigger’, usually an infection. There are two forms of HLH: primary, which is a genetic type, and secondary, which is caused by a malignant blood cancer or acute infection/virus.

Nightingales, Bishop's Stortford. Michelle Peppiatt has been creating a new painting every day in June. .Pic Vikki Lince. (37537572)
Nightingales, Bishop's Stortford. Michelle Peppiatt has been creating a new painting every day in June. .Pic Vikki Lince. (37537572)

Michelle was diagnosed first with lymphoma and then the HLH was discovered.

She said: "I had the treatment that is suggested for HLH, which is eight weeks of chemotherapy and immune therapy. I relapsed three times after several rounds of chemotherapy immune therapy and biological therapies – my only chance at surviving was a stem cell transplant.

"The HLH had affected all my organs and muscles. My medical team turned to Anthony Nolan to help. Anthony Nolan search every stem cell donor register in the world to find someone who is a perfect genetic match. I received my stem cell transplant in January 2019. I have long-term effects of treatment, and art helps me manage anxiety, pain, fatigue and isolation.

"I spent a number of weeks and months in isolation during treatment, due to infections, and after the transplant. I'm adjusted to being shielded and have learnt to keep myself occupied. I've had to find ways to manage my anxiety and general mental health."

Nightingales, Bishop's Stortford. Michelle Peppiatt has been creating a new painting every day in June. .Pic Vikki Lince. (37537578)
Nightingales, Bishop's Stortford. Michelle Peppiatt has been creating a new painting every day in June. .Pic Vikki Lince. (37537578)

Michelle describes her work as fluid art using acrylics. Each day she has picked a subject matter out of a pot.

"Today was oceans and I made art based on the colours of the ocean. I've been painting every day, usually three paintings a day, and sell them via my Facebook page, but now we're at the end I'm looking to expand because they're still selling and I hope to reach more people," she said.

"And now that I've created a space for continuing after this I possibly will set it up as a business."

Michelle said that her experience of lockdown "wasn't too bad as I've spent the last three-and-a-half years in isolation" and discovering art had been a great help. "It's been incredibly therapeutic for me. It has no boundaries, it's very freeing."

On her Facebook posts, Michelle says: "At the start of this I did begin to wonder what I'd let myself in for. When I look at my paintings I've accomplished I feel something I haven't felt in a long time. Peace. A moment of mindfulness and connection."

Michelle's remaining paintings will be on sale until August 1. Visit @chelepep/freedomart on Facebook or her Instagram page @chellepep for more details.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More