Nicholas and Self Care Kits
​Nicholas Patchell, a non-binary creative, is selling self-care kits at Toronto's STACKT market during December, donating all of the proceeds back to the Al & Malka Green Artists' Health Centre at Toronto Western Hospital. (Photo: UHN)

Patient donates proceeds from self-care kits to UHN's Artists' Health Centre

A patient at Toronto Western Hospital has partnered with a local artisan vegan soap shop to raise funds for the Al & Malka Green's Artists' Health Centre, a unique clinic that provides care to artists.

Nicholas Patchell, a non-binary creative from Toronto, is selling self-care kits that include hand soap, candles, shampoo and conditioner among other care products. They will be donating 100 per cent of the proceeds back to the Artists' Health Centre (AHC) to go towards the on-boarding of new patients.

"The Artists' Health Centre has played a major role in my recovery after being diagnosed with mental illness, as well as becoming sober after years of alcohol dependency and impulsive self-destructive behaviours," says Nicholas.

"I had set a goal to fundraise for a cause near and dear to me, and I could not think of a better fit."

During Nicholas' time at the AHC, which is part of the Department of Family & Community Medicine at UHN, they found that taking the extra time to practice mindfulness and create a self-care routine was beneficial for their recovery.

"I wanted to bring the joy of self-care to everyone and have the proceeds directly support mental health."

Nicholas will be selling the self-care kits at Toronto's STACKT market during the month of December.

Some of the pieces in Transformations, a pop-up art show in UHN’s Ajmera Transplant Centre at Toronto General Hospital in late November. (Photos: UHN)

 Toronto General Hospital space metamorphoses into art gallery

The Family Lounge space in UHN's Ajmera Transplant Centre at Toronto General Hospital hosted Transformations, a pop-up art show that creatively conveyed the psychosocial and emotional dimensions of transplant experiences.

The exhibit in late November featured wall-mounted butterfly designs constructed out of UHN scrubs, gowns, blankets and linens.

They were produced by Dominic Quagliozzi, an American artist born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that mostly affects the lungs, who received a double lung transplant in 2015 after a three-year wait.

The exhibit was inspired by an at-home science experiment hatching monarch butterflies from larvae with his three-year-old son.

"Going from disability – needing a wheelchair and oxygen full-time – through the transplantation process is metaphorically represented by a butterfly," says Dominic. "It's not just a straightforward cocoon-to-butterfly transformation; it's a messy, gross and bloody process."

In creating these works, he applied coloured pencils to breathe vibrancy and diverse patterns into strips of UHN materials previously worn by patients and providers.

"From far away they look like these beautiful, colourful creations but as you get closer the hospital gown reveals itself," says Dominic, who compares it to having an unseen ailment like the pre-and post-operative stages of transplantation.

Dr. Suze Berkhout, a clinician investigator with UHN's Centre for Mental Health, organized the event as part of The Frictions of Futurity in Transplant Medicine Project she co-leads, which unites artists, researchers, health care providers, transplant recipients and their support persons for events that deepen our understanding of the transplantation experience.

"We are interested in understanding families and patients and health care providers experiences, particularly the parts of transplant that aren't that easy to talk about like the challenges of waiting, of sickness, of hope for the future," says Dr. Berkhout. "The artwork has been made to explore some of those challenges."

The Transformations exhibit also featured digital videos the Frictions of Futurity project helped create by pairing filmmakers with liver transplant recipients, some of whom had been UHN patients. Additionally, art materials were available in the lounge for families and caregivers to explore the emotional complexities of their own experiences.

Following its UHN showcase, the exhibit travelled to Montreal for The Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Program's annual scientific meeting.

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