Brave patient’s art of survival

Christine Smith with some of her artwork at the Sheffield Royal Society For The Blind.
Christine Smith with some of her artwork at the Sheffield Royal Society For The Blind.
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A brain tumour survivor from Sheffield who lost an eye to the disease has rebuilt her life through a passion for art – and now she is helping other patients with her first exhibition.

Christine Smith, aged 62, from the Manor, was diagnosed with a brain tumour four years ago after visiting her GP complaining of constant migraines affecting her eyes.

The growth was attached to vital nerves and blood vessels, so surgeons at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital were forced to remove Christine’s left eye, and rebuild her face using muscle tissue taken from her back.

While recuperating at St Luke’s Hospice in Whirlow, the former cleaner was introduced to an artist who encouraged her to draw.

Her favourite pastime has proved so successful that Christine is now exhibiting her work at the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind on Mappin Street in the city centre during National Eye Health Week, from today until next Friday.

Proceeds from sales of the pictures will be split between the society and Macmillan Cancer Support.

“My art keeps me going,” said Christine, who visits the blind charity every week to take part in activities.

“Many of the pictures are of animals, but I like doing anything really.

“I’m excited about the exhibition – I hope a lot of people come and we get a lot of donations for the charities.

“I draw or sometimes trace the pictures. I get them from magazines, photos and things people give me, and I use chalk to colour them in.”

Christine said she would have died within three months if she had declined the life-changing surgery.

She is currently in remission and needs six-monthly scans to check the cancer is being kept at bay.

“It has set me back a lot. I’ve got no sense of smell now, and I can’t taste anything because they took nerves away from me.

“But I’m still here, and that’s the important thing.”

n Call 0114 272 2757 or visit www.srsb.org.uk for more information.