Artist raises money for cancer research

Junior Sarasmati Narasimhan’s signature henna tattoos bring smiles to her human canvases and help cancer patients in St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital through her nonprofit organization, Art for a Cause.

Narasimhan, an engineering and physics major, uses tattoos and other forms of artwork to raise money for the cancer treatment and research facilities at St. Jude’s, which does not turn down patients who can’t afford it.

“Every day is like a bonus day, and I believe I should do something with it,” Narasimhan said.

After discovering she was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Disorder in October 2010, Narasimhan was inspired to create Art for a Cause.

RSD is a nerve disorder that  causes severe chronic pain from excessive, abnormal responses of portions of the sympathetic nervous system, like blood pressure and heart-rate regulation. The disease is not fatal, but a cure has not been found.

“Every step feels like a fracture,” Narasimhan said. “Imagine a cancer patient’s pain, minus the cancer.”

With such overwhelming pain, most RSD patients are often bed-ridden like Narasimhan was.

Hospitalized at Sylvester Cancer Comprehensive Center, she started drawing to pass the time when she couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t long until other patients began offering money for her work.

“It was a really sudden change in everything,” Narasimhan said.

After being in a wheelchair until May of this year, Narasimhan made the decision to change her life, regardless of what her doctors felt.

“I thought that I’d make something good come out of this,” she said.

After abandoning her wheelchair, Narasimhan attempted to participate in everyday activities and pursue her interests, such as dancing. Her organization was another outlet for her to cope with her condition.

“Art for a Cause snowballed into something larger than I ever imagined,” she said.

Narasimhan recently participated in the campus-wide henna tattoo event. Students could receive henna tattoos in exchange for an optional donation.

“If you can’t give a donation, then that’s fine,” she said. “Get henna done because it makes you happy.”

The event raised $171 for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Art for a Cause also has events in which Narasimhan fulfills requests for drawings of everything from henna doodles to figures of elegant ballerinas.

Narasimhan said she’s happy that Art for Cause funds can make a difference in the lives of families at St. Jude’s.

“A family gets a beach day because I did a painting,” she said.

Narasimhan also said she strongly encourages people to remember to live life to the fullest.

“Take time to do things that make you happy because you might not be able to later,” she said.

For more information on how to volunteer for Art for a Cause, visit the organization’s Facebook page, Art for a Cause.

December 1, 2011


Saira Sumbal

2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Artist raises money for cancer research”

  1. Thank you so much for such a wonderful article. I really appreciate it.

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ With the first ever early signing period just two we ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst sat on a stage poolside at the ...

Daniela Deu was drawn to both architecture and urbanism, believes architecture can change communitie ...

Canes Basketball player development assistant will graduate with MSED in Sport Administation. ...

UOnline graduate will earn his M.S. in Health Informatics ...

Seeking a college experience within a diverse community, this graduate found her home away from home ...

Graduating with Comedic Timing ...

Hurricanes earn highest ranking since March 2013. ...

Walker IV recorded a career-high 26 points, seven rebounds in the win over Boston U. ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team earned an impressive 65-54 win over No. 20/23 K ...

Miami senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios, a double major in finance and entrepreneurship, was name ...

After its longest break of the season thus far, the University of Miami women's basketball team ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.