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Artist whose paintings hang in the White House plans art exhibition and charity gala dinner for the disabled

A Cheshire artist whose paintings hang in the White House says a cruel comment from a boy drove her to success.

With a home in Alderley Edge, Janice Sylvia Brock’s talent has brought her a life beyond her wildestexpectations even though a she needs two hands to hold a paintbrush.

Strengthened by challenging early life experiences, Janice Sylvia Brock, is now focussed on helping other people with disabilities when she hosts a fundraising gala dinner and art exhibition of her paintings in September.

Janice endured a childhood troubled with pain and gruelling treatments: “For the first 10 years of my life I enjoyed a perfect upbringing in the Cheshire countryside, but everything changed when I woke up one morning in excruciating pain,” she explains.

At the age of 11, Janice was admitted to Pendlebury Children’s Hospital in Salford, Greater Manchester when she was diagnosed with Still’s disease. She remained in hospital for 18 months.

My condition is also known as systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis. I was in constant pain. I couldn’t walk or sit up,” she said.

While in hospital Janice asked for some paint and a brush and immediately her world opened up and hersense of purpose became clear.

However, she left hospital on steroids and in a wheelchair returning to school but was unable to settle back in.

Over the five years that followed, Janice’s joints began to degenerate and she was regularly readmitted into hospital for long stays. But her determination not to be fettered by her diseasearrived when a boy made a cutting comment.

I was in my teens when a young lad said to me: ‘Are you Janice Brock?’ I said yes, and he replied: ‘My, aren’t you ugly!’”

I looked terrible because the steroids had made me bloated. In that moment I decided to wean myself off them,” she said.

Janice’s next milestone came at 17 when pioneering surgery at Manchester Royal Infirmary enabled her to walk again.

My surgeon corrected my knees and put steel rods in my legs so I could stand up,” she said. “It was groundbreaking. After that, I hardly looked back and my career as a painter took off.”

Janice sold her first painting at 22 for a mere £4 and shortly after she held her first exhibition.

Since then, Janice has exhibited all over the world, garnered a raft of high profile patrons and celebrity clients and raised around £500,000 for charities supporting disabled children.

The pinnacle of my success came when a White House staff member bought two of my oil paintings in a London auction.” she said.

When George Bush was in office, I was invited to the White House for lunch, but I had a really important engagement and was forced to turn it down!” she said.

Now I want to pay it forward again. My current project is the organisation of an art exhibition of my paintings and fundraising gala dinner at Ashridge House on 23rd September. Ashridge House is in Berkhamsted in Herts and is the magnificentformer royal residence of King Henry VII ,” she explained.

The beneficiary charity is Back on Track which provides medical and psychological support to former servicemen who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. I have chosen Back on Track because our soldiers have fought for peace and have been seriously hurt and traumatised by what they have been through. Some of the injured have to learn to walk again. People who haven’t been there don’t know what they are going through. Back on Track helps them create a new life.

We will be also be raising money for all important medical equipment to enable a little boy called Ralph towalk.

“It will be a great night of  good food and entertainment in the most beautiful surroundings for two really worthy causes. Anyone reading this who is interested in joining us should message me on Instagram @janiceslyviabrock on Instagram,she concludes.

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