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In February 2014, at the age of 66 I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma after experiencing extreme back pain. This form of cancer affects bone mass and I had unknowingly fractured several vertebrae and ribs while building a new kiln.

Until this point I had enjoyed a lifetime of almost perfect health and never had insurance of any kind. I was unprepared psychologically and financially for the onslaught of information, critical decisions and bills which came my way. Applying for a CERF+ grant could hardly have been easier and receiving it was both practical help in financial terms as well as an important psychological boost from my peers.

A small amount of the grant was used to buy a used electric kiln, a bit less exciting than firing my Noborigama perhaps but a way to start producing again. The photo above shows my first thrown pots since starting treatment, on a kickwheel! Things are working out.

Peter Chartrand online