Though an optic nerve tumor nearly blinded Jeff Hanson, the 17-year-old hasn't let the condition interfere with his creativity or determination to help others, CNN reports. Jeff started painting and crafting note cards while undergoing radiation treatment, and in the five years since his diagnosis, Jeff has donated more than $350,000 from the sale of his work to more than 50 children's health charities. To donate to Jeff's cause or purchase one of his paintings, click here.
(CNN) -- At 12 years old, Jeff Hanson was struggling to see the world around him. "He was walking off curbs and falling down staircases because he couldn't see that they were there," said his dad, Hal Hanson. Hanson had been diagnosed at an early age with neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that can cause learning disabilities and in his case an optic nerve tumor. When the tumor threatened to leave him blind, he underwent rounds of chemotherapy and 28 days of radiation. "We talked to Jeff about it, and we made light of it. We didn't want it to scare him or make him feel threatened," his dad said. To lift his spirits, he started painting watercolors on note cards.
The Hanson house in Overland Park is literally a work in progress. Not in terms of renovation or remodeling, but rather a vibrant rotation of original art that frames a dynamic and fluid interior. Seventeen-year-old artist phenom Jeffrey Owen Hanson, the family’s youngest member, has a hobby-turned-career that punctuates every surface of the home.
Five years ago Jeff Hanson fought the fight of his life. Battling neurofibromatosis, a genetic disease that threatened to leave him blind, Hanson, then 12, underwent five months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation. To lift his spirits, he began painting watercolors on note cards and selling them from a card table in his driveway.
Overland Park, KS – Jeffrey Owen Hanson is a Kansas kid who knows a thing or two about looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. The visually impaired teen painter was diagnosed in 2006 with neurofibromatosis, a rare genetic disorder that dramatically compromises his sight. The creative genius makes it his business to create spectacular, color-drenched art that has snagged the attention of contemporary art collectors worldwide and donated more than $180,000 to local, national and international charities.
Kansas City’s past and not-so-distant history is chockfull of diverse industry pioneers and titans who have helped put this town on the map. Agriculture, livestock, railroad, architecture, arts, business, information technology, education and pharmaceuticals—the list goes on and on.
Do you know about Jeff Hanson? He’s a gifted 15-year old painter, who’s made art works for Elton John, Billy Joel and Bill Gates. Jeff is visually impaired with a genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis and an optic nerve tumor, and his frame of choice is theo Double Tie 2. He and his mother are huge fans of theo! Jeff is inspired by theo frames and colours in many ways. Leon, the owner of Brookside Optical in New York, commissioned Jeff to paint colourful canvases for his stores using older theo frames as models. Aren’t they beautiful?
Here’s a guarantee: Meet Jeffrey Owen Hanson, a visually challenged wunderkind and prolific artist from Overland Park, and your outlook on life will never be the same. The first thing you notice on meeting Hanson is an unshakeable optimism that surrounds him like a colorful aura.
Aloft guests can see the hotel’s energy and vibrancy before they even reach the Aloha desk. The hotel features art by Leawood resident Jeffrey Hanson, 16, in the entry and lobby. Hanson’s contemporary art features bright, bold colors. Aloft Leawood General Manager Jennifer Kramer said Hanson’s art seemed like a perfect fit. “I love his artwork,” Kramer said.
Jeffery Owen Hanson, a 15-year-old visually-impaired artist, recently presented an art show at Bishop-McCann to benefit the new Lisa Barth Chapel at Children's Mercy Hospital. Jeff sold 118 original paintings at this event hosted by Dan Nilsen. He then presented a check to staff members of Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics at a party given by his parents, Julie and Hal Hanson, at their home in Overland Park.
Jeffrey Owen Hanson, the 15-year-old artist with neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors on the central nervous system, presented an art show to benefit the Lisa Barth Chapel for the Kansas City Children’s Mercy Hospital. Jeffrey sold more than 100 paintings during a mid-summer event, bringing his total charitable contributions to-date to more than $100,00 benefiting 12 charities around the world.
Young Artist Sees Brighter World
Jeff Hanson has raised more than $100,000 for charities around the world through his colorful works. All Jeff Hanson wants to do is make the world a better place, and he’s spent the past three years proving it. With his artistic talent, the Overland Park teenager has raised more than $100,000 for several local, national and international charities.
The young painter has sold more than 5,000 watercolor note cards and numerous canvas paintings, giving most of his proceeds to non-profit organizations. His endeavors have made him a national winner in the Kohl’s Kids Who Care scholarship program. As a result, the 15-year old will receive $5,000 in college tuition.
Not bad for a young visual artist who is visually impaired.
Overland Park Teen Wins Kids Who Care Scholarship
Jeff Hanson, 15, Overland Park, is one of 10 national winners in the Kohl’s Kids Who Care program. Jeff will receive a $5,000 scholarship for post-secondary education. Kohl’s selected Jeff because of his efforts to make his community a better place through volunteering.
Nearly 18,000 children were nominated for the scholarship, but Jeff stood out for his exceptional community service through volunteering, a release from the scholarship program said.
Kohl’s Department Stores will also donate $1,000 to a nonprofit organization of Jeff’s choice. Jeff is gifting the Children’s Tumor Foundation with the $1,000.
Through Adversity, Making a Life-Changing Difference
How did a tumor named Clod lead a teenager to develop a life mission dedicated “to helping create kinder communities, more compassionate nations, and a better world for all?” and how did it lead him to the IMF?
Allow us to explain.
Jeffrey Owen Hanson, now 15 years old, was born with neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors on the central nervous system throughout life. In the fall of 2005, Jeff was preparing to receive chemotherapy for a tumor on his optic nerve that was greatly affecting his vision.
Not all Overland Park teens can count an iconic pop star, a Hollywood director and a hip actor/musician among their pals. But unshakable optimism in the face of a devastating disease quickly captures the hearts of anyone who meets Jeffrey Owen Hanson – including Sir Elton John, Harold Ramis and Jack Black.
Pastor Adam Hamilton of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, shares Jeff's story of generosity and compassion in this book.
The book is available at:
Bursting With Color
My name is Jeffrey Owen Hanson. I’m legally blind—I’m also an artist. I was born with a generic disorder called neuorfibromatosis, which can cause tumors on the central nervous system. I have a glioma (tumor) on my optic nerves. Medical treatment stabilized my vision to 20/150—that means I can read the big “E” on the eye chart with glasses. I named the tumor “Clod.” I’m a funny kid and my tumor was certainly not getting a serious medical name! I wanted to laugh at this tumor, not be afraid of it.
Inspirational Cover Story ... Julie Hanson
One Mom’s Support of a Vision
Ask Julie Hanson what she does for a living and she’ll tell you she is a stay-at-home mom. Spend more time talking to Julie and observing her daily routine and you’ll soon discover her role at home goes way beyond that of being a kind and caring mother. Julie spends her days performing sales and marketing activities, answering a never ending flow of emails, fielding a continuous string of phone calls, managing a hectic calendar … on top of tending to the traditional responsibilities of a stay-at-home mom.
Art With a Heart
Artist. Philanthropist. Student. Entreprenuer. Teenager. These are just a few of the hats Jeffrey Hanson of Overland Park wears each day.
Not only is Jeffrey’s artwork unique, but his story is even more unique. Legally blind from an optic nerve tumor (which he nick-named “Clod”) associated with a genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis, Jeffrey's loss of vision demanded radiation and chemotherapy treatment in 2005-2006.
Jeff started painting abstract art note cards in the spring of 2006, when he was 12 years old. It was a hobby and pastime for him, since his visual impairment prevented him from doing the usual “kid stuff,” like skate boarding, bicycling, baseball, etc. Jeff’s art is totally abstract, with bright, bold colors. His vision doesn’t permit him to create any concrete images. But his color combinations are explosive...
Blind Artist a Charitable Talent
DOING A FAVOR FOR ELTON JOHN ... Giving back has always been a part of area teen's style.
First, Jeff Hanson got to meet Elton John. Now the Overland Park teenager is fulfilling the performer's request for artwork to brighten the lives of AIDS patients in South Africa.
A Grand Vision
Jeff Hanson is a young man with limited vision and a clear view of life’s big picture.
Jeff Hanson is an extraordinary teenager whose unshakable optimism in the face of a devastating disease proves infectious for anyone crossing his path—anyone including the world’s most beloved pop-rock star and a Hollywood movie director.
The 14-year-old budding artist started a summer driveway business in 2006 called Jeff’s Bistro, modeled after the lemonade stand concept. He initially started it to purchase a $1,300 black leather chair to make television watching more comfortable. Because of an optic tumor, Jeff’s vision had eroded to 20/150 with a sight range of only eight to 10 feet...
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