Evelina London patients design covers for international medical journal

Posted on Thursday 14th December 2017
Competition winner Maryann Cleary with her artwork to feature on the front cover of The Lancet Child and Adolescent Journal

Lancet competition winner, Maryann Cleary, with her artwork.

Young patients from Evelina London Children’s Hospital will soon see their artwork on the front cover of prestigious medical journal, The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

For the first six months of 2018, The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health will feature the creations of six patients on its front page following a competition run at Evelina London.

January’s cover will feature a painting of an angel in fingerprints by seven-year-old Maryann Cleary from Stockton-on-Tees. Maryann has dystonia, a neurological movement disorder syndrome which affects her muscles and means she is unable to walk, talk or use her hands effectively. She has been cared for at Evelina London since September 2017.

Maryann’s mother, Kathleen Clearly, said: “Maryann loves going to school and mixing with people. Even though it is difficult for her to sit up or to use her hands, she loves colouring and making things but she needs help to create art.

“I was excited for her when we found out her artwork had been chosen. When I told her she was all smiles, and I could tell she remembered when she had done it. Maryann is very clever and even though she cannot talk she is always aware of what’s happening.

“It will give her a boost when she sees her art on the cover. She likes the attention and has got quite a competitive nature. Maryann is a little fighter. She never complains, she’s happy and likes to see people having fun. She’s an amazing little girl.”

Young artists created their masterpieces during art sessions led by Evelina London’s play specialists, a team specially trained in providing play for sick children and young people.

Cathy Gill, senior play specialist, explains: “The play team facilitate art sessions with an aim to help children and young people to cope with their feelings and any anxieties they may have. The art sessions are child centred and offer them an opportunity to express themselves freely through creative means in a therapeutic environment.

“Often our patients are unable to say how they are feeling or simply choose not to. Creative sessions give them the means to communicate in a way that feels safe to them along with giving them an opportunity to feel they have some control over their condition.

“Taking part in this art competition provided all of this and more for children at Evelina London. It was exciting for them to be involved in such an important project and gave them a sense of pride to think their artwork would be on the front cover of such a prestigious journal.”

Dr Jane Godsland, editor of The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, said: "We are thrilled to have been able to collaborate with the Evelina London Children’s Hospital and were overwhelmed by the inspiring entries we received. We are honoured to showcase these talented young artists on our 2018 covers.” 

See a full list of competition winners on The Lancet website.