Esther relishes her arty activities partly because it’s so enjoyable, partly because she donates the proceeds of her efforts to the charity Medical Detection Dogs. This organisation trains dogs with two main aims, based on the incredible sense of smell a dog has. One main branch is Medical Alert Assistance dogs; these dogs are trained to help people with life-threatening illnesses where they do not sense an imminent attack. Most of these involve Type 1 Diabetes patients. The dogs detect a dangerously low blood sugar level and warn their human partners, so that they can take preventative action. The other main branch is Bio Detection, where dogs are trained to identify cancer. The dogs work with samples at the centre, identifying with an accuracy of over 90%. The aim is not for dogs to replace your GP, but for scientists to identify exactly what it is that the dogs smell, isolate this substance, and develop an easy, quick and reliable method to help a diagnosis at the surgery. At the moment, research is being done on certain cancers, Parkinson’s and malaria. The dogs, by the way, live with families and, like many people, go to work Monday to Friday, office hours! And the dogs are very happy!
Normally exhibiting as a HAOS member, Esther is excited to have this solo exhibition from 13 May – 22 June at The Capitol, North Street, Horsham, RH12 1 RG. For lots more images, please visit www.LifeInPatches.com, and if you would like to commission Esther, she can be contacted on 01403 272978 or Esthervanoostrum@aol.com .