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Fundraising For Cancer Research UK

Hello there.

If you've been reading my blog for a while you will already know that my beautiful sister, Charlotte, is currently undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.  She has her final chemotherapy treatment this coming Tuesday 27th May 2014.  Yaaaaaay!

In 2012, my gorgeous mum was diagnosed with cancer and was successfully treated for it.  She has been cancer-free for two years.  That feels good to write out.

Two of my grandparents died from cancer.

Cancer is an illness very close to my heart. It's an illness that can leave you feeling very powerless when you are watching members of your family experience it.  The fear and the physical hardships they are going through can be very, very painful to witness.  I have felt at a loss to know how to help my sister and mum as they have been walking their journey through living with cancer.

Supporting my sister, holding her hand, as her husband shaved her head will be an experience that will never leave me. The memories of hearing both my mum and my sister say to me, "it's cancer" within a year of each other will stay with me. Watching them both bravely face their fears, and the gruelling physical treatments, will stay with me.  Watching my dad worry about his wife, and then the following year, see his eldest daughter go through chemotherapy, will stay with me.  As a little girl, and young woman watching my grandparents fight and ultimately lose their battles with cancer is something that will stay with me.

Cancer sweeps into your life and brings with it huge change, uncertainty, fear and gruelling physical treatments.  It is devastating for the person going through the treatments.  It is frightening and painful in ways I don't know how to explain.  It is devastating for the families of those diagnosed with cancer, as they watch their loved ones suffer and feel powerless to know how to help.

Because of this I have decided to raise money for Cancer Research UK.  A wonderful organisation that fundraises to finance research and studies into the causes and treatments of all kinds of cancers. Cancer Research UK receives no government funding and relies on donations from people like you and me to support their wonderful work.

Due to my own physical limitations I am unable to do the traditional things normally associated with fundraising.  Running marathons, climbing mountains and sky-diving are not things that I am able to do (I'm slightly relieved!) but I have decided to raise money by doing something I can do.  I have painted a picture in honour of my family members who have been diagnosed with cancer. I am raffling three prints of this painting, all proceeds going to Cancer Research UK.

Here is the painting I have created...


She is called "Ella" which is a derivative of "Eleanor" and means "beautiful fairy".  She is made from antique book pages, vintage Japanese washi paper, acrylic paints, Prismacolor pencils, and art pens.

She has been painted with huge love, and has the words "Love", "Joy" and "Hope" hidden within the layers of paint and paper.  In honour of my sister , mum and grandparents and all other people living with cancer.

I have opened a JustGiving page here www.justgiving.com/Emma-Saunders6, and am asking people to make donations to Cancer Research UK through my JustGiving page in increments of £5 (£5, £10, £15, £20 etc), giving whatever you wish to give in increments of £5.  Each increment of £5 = one entry to the raffle.  So if you donate £5 your name is entered into the raffle once. If you donate £10, your name is entered into the raffle twice, if you donate £15, your name is entered into the raffle three times, etc, in increments of £5. If you enter your full name when making your donation, so that it is visible to me next to your donation amount,  I can enter your name into the raffle the relevant number of times.

If you donate anonymously, I will take that as meaning you want to make a donation, but do not want to be entered into the raffle.

If you are NOT UK based and wish to enter, make a donation at the current exchange rate, of £5 British sterling or in increments of £5. For example, at today's rate £5 GB Sterling = US $8.42

Please follow this link to my JustGiving page to make donations.  Thank you so much for each and every donation you make to support Cancer Research UK.  A wonderful organisation that doesn't receive any government funding at all, but tirelessly works to fund studies into the causes and possible treatment of all types of cancer.

There will be three fine art glicee prints of Ella available to win, printed on fine art paper using archival quality inks, tested and printed to Fine Art Trade Guild standards. The first prize will be signed by me, mounted and framed, and will be A4 sized. The second and third prize will be mounted and signed by me ready for you to frame yourself, and will be A5 sized.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I don't sell my paintings. They are something I do, as and when the illnesses and  energy allow, to lift me. No other paintings or prints of my paintings are currently available. Only these three prints of Ella will be made. No further prints of Ella will be available.

I have been scared of doing this in case no-one likes my paintings or is interested in owning a print, and I'm therefore not able to raise much money. But, on reflection, my sister and mum know the meaning of fear. With that in mind, I can put prints of my painting out into the world...! 

The draw for the raffle will take place on 21st September 2014, when all the names of the people who have donated will be entered into a hat the relevant number of times based on their donation amount, and three names will be pulled from the hat by my sister, Charlotte, my mum, and me. The winners will be announced here on my blog in the days following 21st September 2014.  The 21st September is my sister's and brother-in-law's wedding anniversary, and seems a happy day to draw the prizewinners on.

I hope that this is all easy to understand.  It seems the easiest way to do the raffle with the money going straight to Cancer Research UK.  I will not be handling any of the money.  All proceeds go straight to Cancer Research UK once you have made your donation via my JustGiving page.  Thank you so much for all your donations. I spoke to my sister, Charlotte today, and to my mum, and they both wanted to let you know, they very much appreciate your donations and your support.

Much love to you through the internet ether,



This is Grace.
I painted her about this time last year.  She's the first A3 size canvas I painted.  It felt lovely to be able to fill the space and try out different shapes and textures.  


She was a real labour of love.

Before doing anything else, I drew and coloured her face so that I could get an idea of who she might be. As weird as it sounds, every lady I draw is completely different and seems to have a personality all her own.  I never know what colours the finished picture is going to have.  It all depends on what the lady's face looks like.

So I sat for a while and got a feel for what kind of colour combinations might suit her.  That's when the background of the canvas started to take shape.  I used vintage sewing patterns, pages from antique books, vintage Japanese washi paper, pastels, acrylic paints and art pens to layer up the background.

I positioned her face onto the background and started to paint in the details of her body and dress.

Every dress I paint is different.

Finally, I used art pens to draw in the details.  The white dots on her face and the lace of her dress.  Adding the final touches.
Each painting takes time, but I enjoy doing little bits here and there when energy allows, in short bursts.  Layering up and playing with colour.  It makes my heart smile.


My sister has one more round of chemotherapy left.  Hopefully, by the end of May she will be be able to say that the chemo has finished and she will start to feel better.  It has been six long months for her going through this gruelling physical marathon.  I had no real concept of what it meant to watch someone endure chemo until seeing my sister go through it. The hurt of watching her suffer and the complete powerlessness I have felt to make any difference at all. She has always been bubbly, feisty and funny, but I had no idea she would be able to make me snort laughing about the indignities of the cancer treatment, or that she would opt not to wear a wig, and instead, boldly and bravely take off her scarf in public. Allowing herself to be truly seen while at her most physically and emotionally vulnerable. She has carried herself with such grace and I am so proud to be her sister.

When the end of May comes and her chemotherapy treatment is finally over we'll breathe a huge sigh and things will feel lifted. Just in time for Summer. 

With all of that in mind, I opted for a new blog design, based around one of my latest painted ladies, and some of the colours I have used in my mixed-media canvases. In honour of new beginnings, and a bright, happy summer. With huge thanks to Darius for his marvellous computer trickery. 

What do you think?  Do you like it?

How are things with you?  
I hope that you are enjoying your days and that life is treating you kindly.

With huge love,

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