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Warren Artist with Disability Helps Create Painting to Lift Spirits of Cancer Patients

Warren artist with disability helps create painting to raise the spirits of cancer patients.

Amy's Treat is a non-profit foundation that was created in December 2007 in memory of Amy Maliszewski, who died as a result of cancer. The Dover, NH-based organization was founded by Maliszewski's daughter Rachel O'Neill and is dedicated to providing solutions to the day-to-day difficulties of living with cancer. According to its website, www.amystreat.org, it offers "unexpected 'treats' to renew the spirit."

One of those 'treats' that will soon be on the way to New Hampshire is a painting called "Healing Life" created by T.J. Christian of Warren and Isabell Villlacis of Sound Bound Brook, artists in the Matheny Medical and Educational Center's Arts Access Program. Christian is an adult medical day patient at Matheny. Villacis participates in Arts Access twice a month as part of the Self Directed Services program of the Lakeview School in Edison. Matheny is a special hospital and educational facility in Peapack for children and adults with medically complex developmental disabilities. Arts Access enables people with disabilities to create fine art, assisted by by professional artist-faciliators.

In one of those odd coincidences, Christian had met Maliszewski's sister Mary Beth Seaman of Bridgewater a few years ago when she was working at the now defunct Somerville gift shop, What's In The Icebox. Seaman is a direct support professional caring for people with developmental disabilities, and Villacis is now her client. When she first brought Villacis to Arts Access, she was unexpectedly reunited with Christian, and Villacis and Christian also became friends. When they learned about Amy's Treat, both artists wanted to do something to help cancer patients and decided to collaborate on a painting. "We wanted to do something to give a treat to cancer patients," says Christian. Adds Villacis: "We felt we could make a difference with our artwork."

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