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Meet the Artist
The Power of Art
- Written by Vanessa Champion Vanessa Champion
We were contacted by a family in Essex who were going through a challenging time. Jonathan Sheldon had a bad reaction to chicken pox medication which has left him battling with brain damage. His family, struggling, are doing the best they can. His children, Holland and Harrison are taking after him and are keen artists. We gifted a small amount of paper to help inspire his children. We know the power of art to heal and ease troubles, we were keen to see his children's work and show you too! So we caught a few minutes with Jon to find out a little more about what happened and to see some of his children's art.
Tell us about yourself. You were a professional, what did you do? You then have fallen sick can you tell us what happened?
I was an investment banker working in London, super healthy and active. Outside of work I was into mountaineering, outdoor survival and contact sports. I caught regular chickenpox (not shingles) from my son who was in nursery at the time and as it’s unusual for an adult to catch I was given very strong antiviral medicine to combat it. Unfortunately, I had a bad reaction to the medication causing brain damage and it’s been a downward spiral of health since then. I have a couple of life-threatening conditions plus a large number of neurological issues ranging from intermittent paralysis, blindness, narcolepsy, deafness, extreme nerve pain and facial palsy.
I can tell from the way you write that you have a strong spirit, which must give strength also to your family. How is your medic alert dog helping too?
My medical alert dog “Teddy bear” is incredible. He is highly trained as a cortisol alert dog and a brace dog. In short, I cannot produce cortisol and therefore take it artificially, but depending on my health my needs vary from day to day. Due to having an acute condition before getting Ted I was in and out of comas and had several near-death experiences, but since getting Ted he can smell when my levels drop and alert me. He is also trained to stop me from collapsing when I have episodes, so I do not damage my head etc.
Your two children are keen artists? Tell us about them (they have fabulous names by the way!)
Yes, both Holland and Harrison find any art very therapeutic. Holland, in particular, is constantly drawing. I used to be a keen portrait artist when I was younger and they have inherited my creative side.
What do they love drawing?
Holland typically enjoys drawing people and scenery whilst Harrison typically enjoys more technical drawing such as plans for traps and buildings etc, relating to his love of playing Minecraft on his computer
When we asked Holland what she enjoyed drawing most and why, she said: “I like to draw my family as they make me happy.”
We wish Jon and his family all the very best and hope that our gift of papers inspire Holland and Harrison to become artists too.