After being diagnosed with lupus at 8 years old, Itzel Perez-Mejia’s love of art began during long stays at the hospital.

Now a senior at Ellison High School, Perez-Mejia donated 28 paintings to Scott & White Killeen Clinic on Tuesday as part of her Leadership Academy senior project.

She said she wants to make sure the walls aren’t as bare as when she stayed there.

“It’s just to try to bring up their mood, because when I was in the hospital for 2½ months, my room was just blank,” she said. “One day (there) was a group of cheerleaders from Temple High School and they made banners with our names and just decorated to bring up our mood.

“I kind of had that memory and I just wanted to add more to this specific clinic.”

Perez-Mejia asked if the Killeen clinic would be willing to display some of her and her friends’ artwork.

The clinic’s director, Beth Booher, said, “Absolutely.”

“When I saw the art, I was just amazed,” Booher said. “This wall was just blank, so it really dressed up the place.”

Perez-Mejia friends and workers at Painting with a Twist in Harker Heights contributed to the 28 paintings that now adorn the walls leading to the pediatric clinic.

“I have this little theory that when you see a painting that’s happy and has a lot of color, you’re just going to have a smile on your face,” she said. | 254-501-7553 | @SarahRafique

Contact Sarah Rafique at or (254) 501-7553. Follow her on Twitter at SarahRafique or "like" Sarah Rafique.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at

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