Drawing on inner talent sets sickle-cell teen up for success

By Patrick McGee

Iyana Jones started drawing at age 2.

“She would say, ‘Mom, can you draw me a cat?’ her mother, Theresa Cain, said. “‘No, you can do it,’ I would say. I always encouraged her to do it on her own, and it’s just grown from there.”

Video courtesy of Fox4 News at Fox4News.com.


Now 15, Iyana, a sickle cell patient at Children’s Medical Center, is such a talented artist that she was recently accepted at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Dallas’ magnet high school for the arts. She just finished a picture of Children’s Medical Center’s Dallas campus. It will be sold at an art auction, open to the public, to benefit Children’s on April 15.

Dallas-based artist Doyle Glass is hosting ArtCure Friday, April 15, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at “The Loft” at Gilley’s Dallas. The event benefits the Kim Hazelwood Glass Endowment at Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) and metastatic breast cancer research at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. ArtCure honors Mr. Glass’ late wife, Kim Hazelwood Glass. The Glass Foundation will match all sales from works of art sold at the event. To purchase event tickets or bid on art, please visit: www.artcuredallasorg.

Iyana has been a patient at Children’s since she was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia at age 3.

“I wouldn’t recommend any other place other than Children’s,” Ms. Cain said. “Everybody has been helpful and sweet and nice. They give you a ton of information. It’s been a really helpful, positive experience.”

She said the medication Iyana currently takes has “worked wonders” in letting her lead a normal life. She has not had to be hospitalized for several years.

But things were not always easy. Iyana would become lethargic and sometimes had to be taken home from school or even hospitalized. Once she almost collapsed in a bookstore.

“It was a really scary experience for me as a mom,” she said.

She was rushed to Children’s, where she received three units of blood.

As Iyana worked her way through the challenges of sickle cell anemia, her artistic talent continued to flourish.

She started drawing when she was a toddler with her mom constantly telling her not to draw on the living room walls.

“She started drawing pictures inside the closet so I wouldn’t see it,” Ms. Cain said.

Iyana loves the Japanese cartoon art anime, and her artwork includes colorful drawings of a vast variety of creatures. There are no limits. Some of her work has jumped off the page into three-dimensional paper mache that Iyana brought to life with inspirations from Godzilla movies and her pet lizard. Her major work shows even greater ambitions. It’s a story that spans the galaxy, she said, and is about good and evil. She has been working on it for three years and expects it will take a few more years to complete.

It’s all driven by a natural talent – Iyana tested into the gifted and talented program when she was in kindergarten with especially high marks in art and spacial reasoning. Her mother pushed her to make sure her work was properly showcased when she applied to Booker T. Washington High School.

“I made her hustle to get her portfolio together, and she got in,” Ms. Cain said. “Her eyes got real big when she heard the news. It was just a wonderful day.”

 

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