LaNyah’s art therapist walked into her hospital room inviting her to create art as a therapeutic outlet. Her mom saw her daughter was experiencing discomfort and pain from complications with sickle cell disease — a chronic illness that LaNyah was born with and has brought her to the hospital more times than she can remember. Despite her physical pain, LaNyah loved to draw and invited the art therapist in to tell her more.
“I didn’t think she would want to. She wasn’t having a good day,” Lorinda, LaNyah’s mom said. “But, anytime she’s down, she’ll always draw.”
LaNyah drew a beautiful, strong and colorful lion with the words “I’M BRAVE AS A LION” written across it. She said she chose the color yellow to represent the sun that continues to shine on her every day despite her difficulties. Orange and red represent the fire she feels inside when the pain is overwhelming. Most of all, LaNyah said this drawing symbolizes that she won’t let her disease hold her down, because she is a mighty warrior that “roars” the pain away.
Finding the Strength to Push Forward
Fifteen-year-old LaNyah has sickle cell disease, moyamoya disease, and asthma. Every three weeks she goes in for blood transfusions at Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn that last eight hours each time. During those hours, she loves to draw, play video games on the Starlight Fun Center and visit with the hospital staff, who have become like family to her.
“She loves playing on the [Starlight Fun Center], but can’t move too much when she’s hooked up to the machines,” Lorinda said.
When she was just eight years old, LaNyah experienced a stroke. Because of the stroke, doctors found out she had moyamoya disease, which is a rare and progressive brain disorder that’s caused by blocked arteries at the base of the brain. She underwent brain surgery that year and most likely will need another surgery very soon.
“Sometimes she has to be in a wheelchair and can’t walk or talk for hours and even days,” Lorinda said. “But, she doesn’t complain about anything.”
That’s what Lorinda admires most about her daughter. LaNyah is outgoing, talkative and loving. Even when she’s having one of her worst days, she’ll try and make others laugh.
LaNyah’s Artwork Available at a Michaels Store Near You
Michaels Stores selected LaNyah’s lion art to be featured on a fall tote bag that is now sold at Michaels Stores across the nation.
“The bags are going to fly off the shelves, you’ll see,” Lorinda said with a little chuckle. “Our whole family knows – her church family and her hospital family.”
The totes are available at Michaels Stores while supplies last. Proceeds of each bag go directly to Starlight, so we can continue our mission to bring joy and comfort to hospitalized kids and their families.
LaNyah says she hopes the lion Michaels tote gives everyone the power they need during a difficult time.