Art saved my life

by | Nov 17, 2020 | News

Many of us at Artlift know first-hand the very real difference that the arts and creativity can make to our wellbeing, and Amabel Mortimer is no exception. We want to share Ami’s powerful story about how art sustained her through a deep trauma.

On the day of her grandmother’s funeral, Ami discovered a lump on her breast.

Within a few weeks, Ami was undergoing chemotherapy for aggressive stage three cancer. If she had left it any longer, the cancer would have moved fatally into her lymph system. For six months, she was in constant pain, continually sick and losing more and more of her beautiful hair. Having already lost three close friends to cancer, she felt extremely frightened. As a single mum, this weighed very heavy, but she is extremely thankful for the support of her family and friends. Driven by the desire to be a strong role model for her three boys, Ami knew she needed to focus on something positive:

I felt so frightened. At first, I didn’t know where to start, but I started to put my thoughts down in a journal and I expressed myself through art. There was no need for anything to be perfect. I taught myself to knit, patchwork, and make textiles. I took photographs, sketched, painted, and made collages with anything I could find around the home. This gave me a real sense of achievement and removed some of the fear and anxiety. I am so pleased that I invested into my wellbeing. Creativity kept me safe. When someone finishes their cancer treatment, they feel broken, vulnerable, and adrift. This is under normal circumstances but imagine what it must be like for them now that they are shielding all alone against COVID. Every person finishing cancer treatment should be able to access a range of therapies, including arts on prescription. Artlift creates a safe space where you are free to play and just be yourself.

If you’re inspired by Ami’s story and need to give yourself a lift at this difficult time, please join us for a course by applying direct, using this form.

Our next course for adults in Gloucestershire going through or recovering from cancer is funded by MacMillan Cancer Support. Flourish is an opportunity to explore painting, drawing and making with people who care and understand. You will be guided by Susie Walker, a highly skilled creative practitioner, so there is absolutely no need for you to have any experience or skill in art whatsoever.

We’ve been working closely with the University of Gloucestershire for the last ten years to evidence the impact that arts on prescription makes. If you’re registered with a doctor in Gloucestershire and going through or recovering from cancer treatment, you may by able to join a course which started online on Monday 16 November and runs until 8 February 2021, every Monday from 1-3pm, with a two-week break for Christmas.

If the timing isn’t quite right for you, we have another Flourish course starting on 22 February until 3 May 2021, online with Susie every Monday from 1-3pm, with a two-week break for Easter. If you would like to register your interest, please contact us on 03000 200102 or

Find out more about our admin team at Artlift here.

Find out more about our Artlift artists here.

Are you a potential participant?

Refer yourselfIf you are an individual living in Gloucestershire and would like to put yourself forward for either our Create Well, ICU Leavers or Flourish programmes, please...

Are you a health professional?

Refer to usIf you are a health, VCSE or social prescribing professional, or are working with a patient / service user who could benefit from Arts on Prescription please...