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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Mensch List: The art of healing

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By the way, I forgot to mention,” Georgia Freedman-Harvey said at the end of a long interview, “I was a bone marrow donor for a stranger 10 years ago.”

That Freedman-Harvey physically gave of herself wasn’t a surprising revelation.

Nor was it surprising to find out that whether she should undergo the difficult surgery was a decision she made with her husband and two kids, and that she is now close friends with the person whose life she saved.

All of that — the giving, the family involvement, the lasting connections — is how Freedman-Harvey operates, in her work in the art world and as the mother of a son with a rare, life-threatening genetic disease. 

Freedman-Harvey, a 57-year-old native of Woodland Hills who now lives in Seal Beach, is an artist and a curator and manager of private art collections. 

In recent years, exhibits she has curated — both professionally and as a volunteer — have focused on the intersection of art and healing. She is currently concluding a year-long artist-in-residence stint at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, where she helps teens produce art and poetry so they have something to show off when they go back to school.

Freedman-Harvey is highly attuned to the isolation chronically ill teens can feel, because her son, 23-year-old Ezra, was born with an incomplete nervous system. Although medical breakthroughs have improved his quality of life in the last five years, the disease made him very sickly as a child. Ezra has complicated symptoms that include poor eyesight and weak hands and feet. He can’t feel pain, tires easily and until recently had to be hooked up to medical equipment all night.

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