ALLENTOWN, Pa. - She was called to help people more than 20 years ago when she became a nurse. She soon discovered there was more she could do for her patients than care for them at their beds. She is the nurse who protects and paints her patients.
Mary Larson is a bedside nurse at UW Medicine Harborview Medical Center’s Pioneer Square Clinic. She’s been there for 20 years. And 15 years ago, she also started painting pictures of her patients.
As she trained herself to paint, Mary thought she could sell her paintings not to make money, but to help fill needs at her clinic, like socks.
“Many of our patients we see have been wearing the same pair of socks for three months so when they go to an exam room with us, we have to cut them off.” Larson explained.
Director of Downtown Programs Tricia Madden says, “Having it up on the wall it makes it feel welcoming to our patients and makes it personal.”
Mary figures she’s finished about 400 portraits. And what touches her the most is when new patients ask her to paint their portrait, because they too want to help.
“The exciting thing to me is that it says all of us, no matter what’s going on, we always have that little possibility of making the world a better place.”
Mary says it can take anywhere from a week up to a year to paint a portrait. She sells her artwork on her website, MaryLarsonArt.com. As well as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. So far she has collected more than 30,000 pairs of socks, over 14,000 pairs of gloves and more than 12,500 cans of food for her clinic.
Allentown, PA 18102
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