Kids and art – canvases filled with light

Speed Racer -Artist Helen Lew Cole and child Erick Maury

Speed Racer -Artist Helen Lew Cole and child Erick Maury

“Is it something I did?” “Is it something I ate during the pregnancy?” “How did this happen?” When your child receives a horrific diagnosis from his pediatrician, your first instinct is to figure out what you did wrong and what you could have done to prevent it. When we become parents, we take full responsibility for the health and happiness of our children, not realizing that there are many aspects of their life which are outside of our control.

Purvi Shah got the dreaded news that son Amaey had leukemia over 3 years ago, when he was 3. After fruitlessly searching for causes for his condition, she decided to take the upcoming battle in stride. She joined Team in Training, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s sports program that trains participants for half and full marathons. Runners take on the responsibility of raising a specific amount of money for the society that goes towards research in these disorders.

Colors of my sky - Artist Tiffany Birch and child Amaey Shah

Colors of my sky - Artist Tiffany Birch and child Amaey Shah

“Amaey was sick a lot the first year of treatment and could not attend regular preschool,” recalls Purvi. “He spent a lot of time at the hospital, using his waiting time at the children’s center there where he would happily create art and play.” Perhaps Amaey got his interest and talent from mom Purvi, who is a graphic designer by training.

“I felt I was powerless when it came to my son’s leukemia,” says Purvi. “He was the one going through the pain and the treatment and the side effects.” At this time Purvi was raising funds as part of Team in Training and she had the idea to pair up Amaey and other kids in the oncology ward with well-known local artists to create pieces of art which could then be auctioned.  This would give the children an opportunity to help towards the research of a condition over which they had no control. She put up fliers for an art event along those lines at the hospital and was flooded with requests.

She looked around for a location to host this painting event and found a generous benefactor in Pixar, which agreed to let the children and artists use one of their studios. “The parents dropped off the children for a few hours and the children and the artists worked together to create art. We provided a lot of food, since kids undergoing treatment can sometimes be ravenously hungry,” recalls Purvi.

Painting - Artist Harley Jessup and chold Anna Chou

Painting - Artist Harley Jessup and chold Anna Chou

Many other artists and cancer patients asked to join and since the last quarter of 2008, Purvi and friends Helen McNamara and Jeanne Cox have organized several such art events at various locations under the banner of the non-profit they created, called “Kids and Art”.

This May, the pieces created by the children go up for auction at Bonhams and Butterfields, a San Francisco auction house, with proceeds going to the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. There is a silent auction for the pieces created by the children and a live auction for the 15 or so paintings donated by the artists. The art is vibrant and colorful and cheerful and all the more special for having been created by children facing uncertain prognoses in the treatment of their conditions.

Kids and Art

When: Saturday, May 2, 4:00 – 7:00pm

Where: Bonhams & Butterfields
220 San Bruno Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94103

Tickets: Single tickets: $50/ Couples tickets $85 Purchase here.

Polar bears - Artists Jylian Gustlin and child Arjun Shah

Polar bears - Artists Jylian Gustlin and child Arjun Shah

Amaey and Purvi and their family continue their battle with leukemia. Amaey suffered a relapse this March and the family has made adjustments to spend as much time as possible helping him fight and keep a positive outlook. Purvi’s husband Apurva  has cut his working hours so Purvi can fulfil her dream. The art events continue to be organized with the help of friends, kids-and-art team members and volunteers. More information can be found at

Sponsorship packages are also available at the website.

4 thoughts on “Kids and art – canvases filled with light

  1. Mona Shah


    We are so proud of you guys. Please continue being positive. I am sure the auction will be successful and you will be able to raise lot of money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.XxX


  2. Rennu Dhillon

    This is a very touching article. I commend Mom on her efforts and I will be sure to send this posting and information to all my parents and encourage supporting this event. Best of Luck.
    Rennu Dhillon DSc.


  3. Nishith

    Dear Purvi,

    I am sure that work must be going on at a hectic pace for you. Best up luck for coming auction. I wish that we were with you. I am happy that Mama & mami wil be with you. How is Amay” Once again I feel proud that I know two best 2 ‘ fighting’ persons of the world.


  4. Willette Wingler

    Hi, we’ve happen to be reading this kind of blog page for a little bit and have a question, perhaps you’re able to help… how could i put your current feed to my rss or atom reader as i would like to follow you. Cheers.



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