Hepatitis C patients use art to express their disease experience.
Steve Villeneuve is grateful for access to a new wonder drug that cured his hepatitis C in just three months.
But the support he received for the past eight years to get here is the real miracle, says Villeneuve, 67, who has spent much of his life in an alcoholic and drug-filled haze.
“I’ve got cirrhosis. I still drink heavily. I don’t eat properly. But this program is adding years to my life,” he says during a recent meeting of the hep C continuing care group at the Regent Park Community Health Centre.
“It’s like family … belonging to the program is more important than the treatment.”
The centre is part of the Toronto Community Hep C Program, a partnership that also includes the Sherbourne Health Centre and the South Riverdale Community Health Centre.
The partnership is celebrating Villeneuve’s story and those of 17others from the program who created clay sculptures for an exhibit held July 28 at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art to mark World Hepatitis Day. The art will continue to be displayed throughout the summer and fall at the health centres.
The Face of Our Story details the artists’ hepatitis C journeys through clay sculpture and explores the themes of stigma, discrimination, rebirth, resilience and perseverance in the face of an often indifferent health care and social service system.
An estimated 250,000 Canadians are infected with the blood-borne virus which is a leading cause of chronic liver disease and liver cancer.
Read Full Article: The tragedies and triumphs of living with hepatitis C | Toronto Star
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