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Using Art To Mend Where Medicine Leaves Off

Portrait of a Soul provides healing experience for patient with rare skin condition

CINCINNATI, Jan. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Erika Slifer was born with epidermyolysis bullosa, or EB. It's a rare genetic condition resulting in severe blistering of the skin.

Children born with it are often called "Butterfly Children" because their skin seems as fragile as a butterfly wing.

"I compare it to the tissue paper that you stuff presents with, so it's very, very fragile," said Erika. "The wounds can be very painful and the bandages I wear are to protect the damaged or extra-fragile skin."

Since she was a little girl, Erika, 26, has been coming to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center for treatment.

She has battled cancer three different times in the last three years. Doctors have amputated both of her feet to stop the cancer from spreading.

"I have been severed and I have been saved at Cincinnati Children's," said Erika. "That means a lot to me. I face some really, really, hard and life changing things here at Cincinnati Children's, but I've also been saved, and I'm here right now still going because of them."

To capture Erika's courage and resilience, a non-profit organization called Portrait of a Soul selected Erika to have her portrait painted.

Portrait of a Soul seeks to heal some of the emotional issues that patients with physical and mental challenges may experience by providing a professional portrait. Its mission is to bring the power of art to complement the properties of medicine.

Erika was paired with Cincinnati artist Tom Post.

"As soon as you meet her, you see she's special," said Tom.

After several weeks, her portrait was unveiled. To see the artwork and Erika's reaction, see the attached media.


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SOURCE Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center