By Angela Clark
A free art class has provided a new lease of life for a retired nurse struggling with sight loss and an incurable brain disorder.
Cath Meikle was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease in 2017, months later she became blind in her left eye and lost part of her sight in her right eye.
The hereditary illness left her with multiple health issues and everyday things, such as driving, became a challenge.
And it was not a time in her life when she expected to discover a new creative talent.
It began whilst visiting her son and grandchildren in Brazil.
Life Changing Messages
She received a message from Van Gash art studio in Alexandria saying they were offering free art classes, so she signed up and arranged to attend when she got home.
She said: “I come from a family of creatives. My big brother, he was an artist. My big sister draws and writes, as does my wee sister.
I always thought I was more practical because I was a nurse and that was where my talents lie.”
Cath attended the free art class and with the help and support of tutor Sarah Jayne, her confidence grew, which then encouraged her to enrol in online art classes.
She now has her own Facebook page, recently launched a new website and is producing amazing work.
She believes the restrictions to her sight are helping her creativity.
“The fact that I can’t see as well as I used to means my definition between light and dark is much easier than it was, I’m sure that is giving me the ability to draw when I could never draw before.
“I have things to do. I’m just feeling so good at the moment and it’s lovely.
“It takes me awhile but I just love doing the animals, they just seem to come to me.
“One of the things is when I’m painting sometimes I can only paint for two minutes at a time because the movement comes on really bad.
“I have to stop and rest as I can’t keep still.”
Power of Holistics
To help with the symptoms of Huntington’s disease, which include involuntary movements, Cath explored various natural treatments such as reiki, eating a good diet and regular exercise and she is feeling the benefits.
She said: “I’ve not had lots of movements for months, so I’ll carry on with holistic treatments until I don’t get any benefit from them.
“The hospital wants to give me medicine that will kill my brain and I don’t feel I’m ready to kill it just yet.
“It’s still expanding and I have things to do. I’m just feeling so good at the moment and it’s lovely.”
Cath is determined to live life to the full and has set herself a monthly bucket list of doing something new each month.
So far with the help and support of her family she has been to Brazil to visit her son and grandchildren, travelled to Iceland with her daughter, visited a volcano, climbed Mount Etna and next on her list is a trip to Staffa to see one of the largest whirlpools in the world.
She remains positive about the future even pushing to the back of her mind her children may also have Huntington’s.
She said: “I look at every day as a fresh day and for the joy in every day because it is there, and I give thanks.”