MND patient aims to spread optimism with 100 paintings

Dr Emily Goodall who has had her portrait painted by Patrick the Optimist who suffers from Motor Neurone disease
Dr Emily Goodall who has had her portrait painted by Patrick the Optimist who suffers from Motor Neurone disease
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a SCIENTIST working in Sheffield to help find quicker ways to diagnose the condition that killed her father has become a star in a portrait exhibition created by a patient with the disease - who has set himself the challenge of painting 100 pictures before he dies.

Dr Emily Goodall’s face appears in the showcase created by motor neurone disease patient Patrick Joyce, called The Incurable Optimist, which is on display in the Winter Garden in the city centre.

The 30-year-old is a researcher at the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience or SITraN, where her work centres on examining the blood to find ‘fingerprints’ specific to MND which could help speed up the diagnosis for patients and improve their treatment.

She dedicated her career to MND after her dad David died from the condition aged 54 - and was particularly interested in this element of research because it took more than a year before he received an official diagnosis.

Her work attracted the attention of Patrick Joyce and he decided to include her in his group of 100 portraits being compiled to spread the message of optimism in the face of the fatal neurological disease.

Emily joins other great scientists in the collection completed so far, including Professor Stephen Hawking and Dr Martin Turner - Patrick’s neurologist at the Oxford MND centre.

Emily, who lives in Walkley and has worked in research in the city for the past three years while SITraN - based in Dorset Street, opposite the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, was being developed - said she was thrilled to see the collection in Sheffield.

“I feel very privileged and honoured to be chosen. His website and blog are an inspiration to many, with a message of hope that has touched people from all over the world.”

Patrick said: “I started painting the portraits in the hope that I could show that behind the horrible statistics there are people fighting to stop this disease, people giving up their lives to care for the sufferers and people living with it with dignity, fortitude and a sense of humour.

“I wanted to do it because these are real people, each with an amazing strength of character and hope for the future.

The exhibition is in the Winter Garden until Saturday. It will also be in Sheffield Central Library from May 31 to June 18.