Dudley artist donates paintings to charity's art exhibition

A Dudley artist who cares for his partner who suffers from encephalitis is donating paintings to a fundraising exhibition on Twitter.

Keith and Chris
Keith and Chris

Keith Boldy has donated work to the Encephalitis Society 'Twitter Art Exhibit' since 2017. His long-term partner, Chris Guest, contracted encephalitis in April 2021 and he has helped care for her since.

He said: "April 13, 2021, the world as we knew it changed. Out of the corner of my eye, I witnessed Chris collapse onto the kitchen floor and heard screams down the phone from her sister.

"Chris was unconscious and not breathing. Within minutes of dialling 999, three paramedics arrived on the scene and immediately began working on her. As they struggled to revive her, a second ambulance turned up with three medics. Though they successfully stabilised her breathing, she remained unconscious and was rushed to hospital.

"Like many relatives at that time, I was prohibited from accompanying her, a mere bystander as the blue lights of the ambulance disappeared at speed."

Keith added: "Neighbours rallied, plying me with tea during an agonising five-hour wait until we heard that Chris was being treated for meningitis. She remained in a coma on life support, her condition critical. As she wasn’t responding to the medication, I was warned to expect the worst.

"Miraculously, after six harrowing days Chris regained consciousness but the uphill battle had only just begun. The team continued to treat her for meningitis but she remained seriously ill. She had no memory and her personality had altered beyond recognition – she was argumentative and rude towards the nursing staff and made numerous attempts to escape from the hospital."

However, shortly after, Chris began having seizures.

Keith said: "After a short time, it was terrifying and I felt helpless. Chris was paranoid about going back into hospital so I was torn between dialling 999 or keeping her at home. In total, she’s had 48 seizures and has now been diagnosed with epilepsy – a side effect of encephalitis.

"I was at my wits' end by this point but thankfully came across the Encephalitis Society which proved a lifesaver. I spoke at length with a member of the support team. It was invaluable to be able to share my concerns with someone who understood the complexities of the condition and the various symptoms associated with it."

The Twitter Art Exhibit will be staged at the Hiscox Building, Peasholme Green, York, on Sunday, June 26, from 10am-4pm. There are 900 pieces of postcard-sized art which have been submitted by artists from as far afield as the USA and Australia.

To find out more visit encephalitis.info/blog/tae

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