A place to show my love for my granddaughter who lives with Cerebral Palsy and my passion for painting. In an effort of raising awareness for C.P. every painting brush stroke I make on raw canvas is a stroke of love, as I discretely paint a green C.P. awareness ribbon in every piece. Can you find them?
Do you know someone who would like to have a painting done? email www.harrold.janet@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chasing Rainbows

I first learned about Super Hero Gavin when a fan on my “Painting for Hailey’s” facebook page contacted me with this email... "Your paintings are beautiful. I would like to inquire how much you charge for a painting. My friend just lost her special needs son and I wanted to have a painting of her and her son done. I am devastated by her loss and just want to show I am here and that I hold them in a special place". Of course my response was that I would not accept money for such a precious gift. I then spent hours reading, learning and crying about this super hero’s life and the emotional and unfortunate journey that he and his family have been on. 5 1/2 year old Gavin had a seizure, his blood pressure soared high and he had gone into cardiac arrest. There were so many beautiful pictures of Gavin, so we had a hard time picking one to paint... We eventually decided on one... I'm in Massachusetts, the lovely woman who sent me this request is from California so we had numerous emails to one another before deciding on which precious image to paint... Another email clip ..."It's almost 5:00 a.m I couldn't sleep, I couldn't get this family off of my mind, so I began painting around 3:00 this morning. I didn't realize how difficult this is for me, I can taste the tears rolling down my cheeks as I load my brush with paint and try to get every stroke just right on Gavin's perfect face. I've Got to stop now, I can tell i'm getting tired and I want to preserve this moment in time just perfectly for them. I'll begin again in a couple of hours and keep you updated with the pictures. Goodnight" Here is where we are at that point... and here the painting is complete... We decided on this picture together, because it shows Gavin with both of his parents, but...I really wanted to capture Gavin's Super Heroness, as is mom often affectionately referred to him as a Super Hero... So I also painted this one... I know there are no words that can help this family right now, but I hope that just for a second, they look at these precious moments and smile. Through her deepest grief and pain, Gavin's mom has asked everyone to to do a random act of kindness in Gavin's name, please visit her blog "Chasing Rainbows" where she chronicles and celebrates almost all that they have gone through, both happy times and unimaginable times. Her strength and courage to share this with the world at a time where most of us would shut down really amazes me. "Without even uttering a word, this little boy changed the world" I'll miss you Gavin. You really are A Super Hero!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Conductive Learning Center

For those who have been wondering how Hailey is doing since the big move to Michigan. I found this on their fb page, written in my sons words... Hailey is diagnosed with Athetoid Cerebral Palsy. We had heard through other families that CLC was truly beneficial to their child's development. Hailey attending CLC has made a world of difference. Before her first month long session, at 4 years old, Hailey was unable to sit without the support of a specialized chair or individual supporting her trunk at all times. Toward the end of this first session, she was able to sit on her own without any back or side support. She made many more advancements and it became easy to see the confidence that she found in herself to accomplish things of which she did not know she was capable. That was all the proof we needed to know that we had to come back, and come back often. We had already begun to consider the option of moving to Grand Rapids so that Hailey could benefit from CLC at an early age. The Conductive Learning Center and the Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan have collectively helped a family move half way across the country to allow a 5 year old girl the opportunity to develop her abilities and to gain independence. At 5 years old, Hailey is now taking steps with a walker with very limited assistance. We recently moved and Hailey can now attend CLC full-time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Broken Heart / Opportunity

My body, my mind and my soul may be in Massachusetts, but today I left my heart in Michigan. :( I know that this is what our family has been trying to do for Hailey since we first learned about the Conductive Learning Center in Grand Rapids Michigan a couple of years ago, so why does it feel so incomprehensible that the time has suddenly arrived? We took 2 days to drive to Michigan, 17 hours would be too much on the kids so stopping at a hotel along the way seemed the best route to take. I just can't express how proud I am of Tommy and Natalie for having the courage and the strength to do whatever is necessary for Hailey. It is certainly not easy to move away from your family, your friends and your main support system. In the past 5 years I have seen these two young adults go through more than so many of us will ever have to go through in our lifetime, and still they remain strong. I wrote this poem for Hailey a couple of years ago for Valentines Day, but thought it was fitting and worth reposting... You have my heart there is no doubt, my fragile flower, I can’t live without. my heart is yours, as well my soul I love you more than you’ll ever know. A little girl, with long brown hair her smile it spreads from ear to ear. her words unspoken, I don’t care I know she loves me, i’m well aware. Her future holds no certainty, but then again who’s does i’ll just take it day by day and love her just because. xoxo @Copyright by Janet Harrold

Monday, January 14, 2013

C.P Family Network

The Power of a Little Green Ribbon By Janet Harrold Writing for the CP Family Network
this was an article that I wrote sometime ago for C.P. Family Network, I was happy to see that they ran it on their network again...have a look! For over 20 years now I have been expressing myself through art. It wasn’t until 5 years ago, when my beautiful granddaughter was born with cerebral palsy, that I started including a green awareness ribbon in my work. The Search for Answers Before Hailey was born, I really didn’t know too much about CP. When we first found out that Hailey had cerebral palsy I felt helpless. I thought to myself, how can I possibly help my family when I don’t know the first thing about her diagnosis? Like so many others, I craved information. I began scouring the Internet every night desperately searching for ways to help Hailey have a better quality of life. I admit that even after 5 years of gathering information like a beaver gathers wood, I still do not know all that there is to know about her diagnosis. But, I have learned a lot more than I ever thought that I could. I have met some of the strongest and most caring people and have built relationships with others who live the same life that Hailey lives. That life consists of love, courage, happiness and often times a life full of physical pain, discomfort, and exhaustion. The challenges she faces every single day are at times overwhelming. Spreading the Message Through it all, Hailey continues to smile her contagious smile and her determination is like no other. When Hailey was first diagnosed, I spent weeks and months crying. After the initial shock of her diagnosis began to wear off, I dried my eyes and decided to pick myself up and dust myself off and vow to never cry for Hailey again. After all, crying wasn’t going to help her one bit. I began writing about the things that I had learned so that others behind me could begin their journey armed with more information than we had as a family. My blog, “Painting For Hailey,” was written to educate my extended family and introduce them to the wonderful little girl that we are so blessed to have in our lives. Raising awareness and educating others about CP became a top priority for me. I wanted to be sure to keep the tone of my blogs very positive. Remembering all that I have learned doesn’t come particularly easy for me. I am well aware that middle age is creeping in; my memory doesn’t serve me as it once did. I find myself leaving notes everywhere so I won’t forget things. I’ve even reverted back to my childhood methods to try and keep myself on track. When I was a child, lessons were easier to remember if they were taught through song or word association. I paired up my encouraging words with vowels. This helped me to remain positive. I constantly rehearsed these words: A-ADVOCATE E- EDUCATE I-INSPIRE O-OBSERVE U-UPLIFT 5 simple words with a positive message. I built my posts around these commandments. Advocacy Through Art The idea of raising awareness everywhere and any way eventually translated into my artwork. I found myself leaving hidden messages of green awareness ribbons in every painting that I painted. At first they were very discreet; they were unobtrusive. Later they had become more blatant. I’ve written the quote, “I am a delicate flower; you are the sunshine that helps me grow,” to accompany the picture shown here. In this piece, you can see the ribbon on the girl’s necklace. Suddenly, this became more of a trademark for me and eventually a game for others. I get emails saying, “I can’t find the ribbon. Did you forget to put it in the painting?” Or they would request that I paint the ribbon in a specific spot. I have also been told of other causes that the green ribbon represents, such as organ donors, mitochondrial disease, leukemia and so many others. Mission Accomplished People are now looking beyond the painting and searching for the green ribbon. A subliminal message, I admit; but an important message nonetheless. This is only a small step in raising awareness for CP, but if each of us take many small steps, who knows how far we may walk together? About the Author Janet Harrold is a firm believer in educating others about disabilities. As an artist, she says, “Every brush stroke I make on raw canvas is a stroke of love.