The renowned international artist Michelle Benjamin from George, donated four Madiba paintings to CHOC (Childhood Cancer Foundation), in Cape Town, which sold for R170 000. Her paintings have been auctioned in London, New York, , Dallas, Houston Durban, Pretoria and George.
CHOC said that the funds were much needed for their programmes to help children with various cancers. CHOC has been providing treatment and after-care for children and teenagers with various cancers, for the past 40 years. The organisation was started by a group of parents whose children had cancer.
CHOC’s fundraising coordinator Gadija Israel said after receiving the paintings they were ecstatic and immediately planned to auction the paintings at their Gala Dinner which was subsequently cancelled due to Covid-19 and the lockdown. “The paintings came as a much needed blessing at the right time,” Israel said.
Money raised from Benjamin’s art auctions have assisted many charities ranging from saving the rhinos to providing funds for school lunches, before. “I also helped to sustain a safe house for disadvantaged children in George, paying school fees, purchasing school stationery and uniforms for disadvantaged children and purchasing computer tablets for students from disadvantaged communities, who wanted to learn digital art. She also assisted with the Knysna Disaster Relief Fund during the wild fires in 2017. This include helping with the rebuilding of Coney Island, New York after f Hurricane Sandy in 2012,” she said.
Benjamin said she partnered with CHOC because she wanted to help children who has cancer. She previously partnered with the Reach for a Dream Foundation. Her artwork Eesha’s Journey, fetched a considerable amount of money that helped terminally ill children. “That artwork was about a 12 year old Mauritian girl who was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour in her country. She arrived at a Durban hospital for treatment and surgery. Eesha’s father contacted me and requested that I do a portrait of his child in hospital. I created the artwork of this gravely ill little girl, who almost died. She made a miraculous recovery and I incorporated that part of her journey into my artwork and that is how the artwork Eesha’s Journey was created. The artwork was exhibited in Naples and New York and finally auctioned in Pretoria to raise funds for the Reach for a Dream Foundation. My three old nephew had leukemia. I know first-hand, the suffering experienced by a child and the family when cancer is diagnosed in the little one. It was a very painful and traumatic journey for all of us, but especially my brother and his wife. My nephew recovered from the illness,” she explained.
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