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‘Art Angel’ Helps Kids Cope With Illness

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(credit: cbs)

(credit: cbs)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Gannan Eck, 16, is a sophomore at San Clemente High School who loves to paint. Just a few years ago he spent more than 100 days at Children’s Hospital undergoing treatment for severe aplastic anemia, also known as bone marrow failure.

“I had to stay all day; I couldn’t leave because my immune system was so low. I had to have shots in the day, shots at night, chemo, and a bone marrow transplant,” Eck said.

Eck’s younger sister, Amanda, donated her bone marrow and he has since made a full recovery.

Eck says what got him through the toughest part of his life was a women known as an “art angel,” who works with the non-profit organization Art and Creativity for Healing. They introduced him to painting.

“I don’t think I could have gotten through as well as I did, because just sitting there was depressing, this gave me something to do and someone to talk to. It made me feel a whole lot better,” Eck said.

Founder Laurie Zagon operates the Laguna Niguel-based non-profit organization purely on donations and just received $7,500 from the Orange County Register, as part of their Season of Caring program.

“It’s a non-profit I started 10 years ago, and it’s about supporting emotional healing through art,” Zagon said.

She says it is lifting the spirits of children like Eck that makes her job so rewarding.

“I’m touched because I love him and it may seem like no big deal, we just gave him a few art supplies, but it was a big deal to him, so that makes me happy,” Zagon said.

She plans to use the $7,500 for more art supplies for the children.

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